“A high-energy, 30-minute, five-day-a week infotainment show that showcases youth culture and reflects young people’s interests.”
By JULIE MIDDLETON
You know you’re really inspiring your audience when the kids who used to watch the show grew up and fulfilled their dreams to become its presenters. That’s the case with Haa, Māori Television’s flagship show for 12 to 16-year-olds, says producer Wiremu Te Kiri.
Current presenters Junior Paparoa, Tupoutama Paki, and Te Uira Paki all used to watch the colorful, high-energy show as school kids, hoping they’d be on screen one day.
Haa (the name means breath) is now seven-years-old and going from strength to strength. Produced in-house at Māori Television, it’s a high-energy, 30-minute, five-day-a week infotainment show that showcases youth culture and reflects young people’s interests.
Haa is presented in te reo Māori (Māori language) by and for a generation of young people who grew up with the ability to complete their entire education in the Māori language.
“Haa is important because it helps to normalize Māori language being spoken on television.” says Te Kiri.
There are plenty of challenges for a seven-strong team producing 110 hours of television a year, plus not every young Māori interviewee speaks Māori, or speaks confidently enough to use it on screen. With limited budgets, the Haa crew are adept multi-taskers.
The show has plenty of dance and music – both traditional haka and what’s on everyone’s iPods at the moment – alongside interviews with young high achievers, sports people, and celebrities. Te Kiri says the show adapts and grows alongside its audience, with segments adjusted or introduced to reflect what’s going on in young people’s lives.
Among the inserts this year is an activity segment that shows viewers how to do something practical and physical, like a series of African dance moves, and Haa Cam, which gives young people a camera to capture their world. Extreme sports, festivals and events, and fun presenter challenges are also in the mix.
And in the year New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup – it starts on September 9 – a new segment goes behind the scenes, checking out the preparations and profiling the teams. As there are so many requests for repeats, every Friday’s episode is a recap.
For more information about Haa, visit: www.MaoriTelevision.com.
Julie Middleton is of Pākehā (English) and Māori descent (Waikato) and is a communications contractor to Māori Television as well as a keen viewer. She has been a newspaper and magazine journalist for 20 years, these days working mainly in the fields of social and Māori development and inter-cultural education.
Like many of her generation, Middleton learnt te reo Māori as an adult and has been having a great deal of fun making up for lost time. Middleton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Graduate Diploma of Arts (Māori Development).