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NZ media content aid project gears up for Pacific broadcasters

Tuesday 24 November 2015, by SIGNIS

Auckland, Brussels, November 24th, 2015 (Pacific Media Watch/Alistar Kata/SIGNIS). Eight hours a day of free-to-air New Zealand television content is on offer to Pacific countries in a new broadcasting initiative backed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

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Matua Shane Jones

Prime Minister John Key announced the plan at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Summit. But just how this plan will roll out was the focus of a seminar at Auckland University of Technology last week. “New Zealand has a proud image to protect in the Pacific, but the Pacific now is crowded space. For example, over the last 10 to 15 years the Chinese presence is a lot more pervasive in the Pacific,” said the New Zealand Economic Ambassador in the Pacific, Matua Shane Jones.

“Broadcasting is a great way for the interests and values that New Zealanders hold dear to be projected into the Pacific, after all there is an enormous Pasifika community now living in Aotearoa.” Consultant working on the project Tony O’ Brien said the project was more than just providing content. “Of course we want to help them and encourage them to produce more local content, and how we’re doing that is we’re giving them camera equipment, camera kits to encourage them to do more local content in their territories,” he said.

“We’re also helping train their operatives, for example vision switchers, camera operators, bringing them over to New Zealand to help them upskill by interning them with New Zealand broadcasters like Sky, TV3, TVNZ ...”

New Zealand High Commissioner in Honiara Marion Crawshaw said the plan was needed in the Solomon Islands. “It will not only provide a view of New Zealand to Solomon Islanders, but it is creating a service that doesn’t exist at present,” she said. “I think that it will encourage Solomon Islands production, because as I said there is almost nothing in the free to air space, it will create options and spark thinking I hope in the Solomon Islands.”

The Pacific Cooperation Foundation will run the initiative, with content being available as early as next year.

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