The three-year agreement is between MediaWorks Radio and the urban Maori authorities, the Manukau Urban Maori Authority (MUMA) and the Waipareira Trust. The transaction also includes transmission equipment for a number of low powered FM frequencies throughout the country.
“There is a strong, ongoing relationship between the urban Maori authorities and MediaWorks. John Tamihere, CEO for Waipareira, and myself have worked for MediaWorks as talkback hosts for three years now they are aware of the many commitments that John and I have outside of RadioLIVE, and they have been tremendously supportive of our work. We will all be working together to ensure Maori language and cultural objectives on George FM continue to be met,” said Willie Jackson, chief executive officer of MUMA.
George FM Manager Jef Kay has agreed to stay on for a 3-month transition period, during which time MediaWorks executive Emily Turnbull will assume management responsibilities at the station. Turnbull has recently returned from London, where she worked in radio and agencies. Prior to that, she managed the nationwide rollout of the More FM brand and the launch of RadioLIVE.
In reporting on the sale, The New Zealand Heraldnotes that Maori groups have been allocated frequencies across the country as part of Treaty of Waitangi cultural obligations and the MediaWorks agreement could mean a financial windfall for both the broadcaster and the Maori.
In February 2008, MediaWorks reached a similar agreement with Ngati Whatua to acquire Mai FM.