Sky Sport NZ has announced a collaboration with National Rugby League (NRL) to provide unique bilingual commentary for the All Stars matches between Indigenous and Māori Men’s and Women’s teams.
The NRL Harvey Norman Indigenous All Stars go head-to-head with the New Zealand Māori All Stars at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Friday, February 16, marking the official kick-off of the season.
Sky Sport has been steadily increasing the use of te reo Māori, but bilingual commentary is another first for the company, highlighting Sky’s dedication to foster cultural diversity and support the normalisation of te reo Māori on air. Coverage on Sky Sport 1 will be available through Sky, streaming on Sky Sport Now and free to view on Sky Open with an alternative Australian Fox Sport commentary available on Sky Sport 4 or by using the alternative commentary via the yellow button.
The NRL Harvey Norman Indigenous All Stars will be presented by veteran Māori broadcaster, Te Arahi Maipi (Tainui) with bilingual commentary provided by Dale Husband (Ngāti Maru), Te Aorere Pēwhairangi (Ngāti Porou) and Honey Hireme-Smiler (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Haua, Tainui). Pre and post-match panel discussions will be led by Maipi who will be joined by Warriors captain, Tohu Harris (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Hireme-Smiler.
Honey Hireme-Smiler said: “I’m thrilled to see Sky creating innovative ways to foster use and acceptance of te reo Māori. This will be a new and unique opportunity for the commentary team, and we are so ready to deliver an awesome immersive experience for New Zealanders. I can’t wait for February 16th!”
The success of incorporating te reo Māori into sport coverage was proven during the February 2023 NRL Indigenous All Stars game, reaching over 100,000 viewers when covered by Te Aorere Pēwhairangi on social media.
In addition, during the Rugby World Cup 2023, 71,000 New Zealanders tuned in to te reo Māori commentary on Sky Sport.
Game Schedule Sky, Sky Sport Now and Sky Open:
- NRL All Stars Women’s Game: Live from 7:30pm to 9:45pm Feb 16th (Kick off at 7:50pm)
- NRL All Stars Men’s Game: Live from 9:45pm to 12:15am (Kick off at 10:10pm)