I was feeling pretty dejected about the prospect of the media desert in NZ. In Melbourne I felt pretty spoilt: with three independent radio channels – PBS, 3RRR and 3CR – as well as the national tv channel SBS with its internationalist outlook, and a raft of great documentaries on ABC. By comparison, NZ suffers from pretty lame media. Limited coverage of global issues, few broadcasters with a progressive slant, and much hectoring journalism, even on National Radio.
So it was a big surprise to find that Maori Television provides some very compelling viewing. Switching on to the UHF band was rewarded with Te Reo, local news, historical footage, a distinctly tangata whenua style and some challenging by and for indigenous peoples programmes from around the globe.
I’ve just watched the second episode of the Bush Mechanics, a show by some young(-ish) Aboringinal men living west of Alice Springs. The show demonstrated much spirit: melding an appreciation of European sensibilities, such as the Ford versus Holden contest, with some wildly anti-materialist behaviour. Cars on the verge of utter disintergration where revived by a semi-mythical bush mechanic. The blunt humour and irreverence was pretty subversive.
If you don’t get a chance to see their programme on Wednesdays at 9pm, then check out the Bush Mechanics website which has audio transcripts of lore and culture (including a photo gallery of favourite cars), stunning graphics and the games and tricks are a bit of a laugh.
I don’t watch that much telly, so can’t expand much more on the Maori Television content, but from what I’ve seen so far it might rescue me from utter despair.