Mar 20, 2012

Maori in the mainstream media


Early last year I posted a list of Maori blogs and Maori bloggers. I thought of posting a new list, but not much has changed in the past year. There are a few new comers, most notably the Turangawaewae blog, Joshua Hitchcock and Kaapua Smith. The old hands, think Mars to Earth and Tim Selwyn, are still around and going well. Given nothing much has changed I thought I’d have a look at Maori in the mainstream media instead.

Maori are thin on the ground in the broadcast media. But, to be fair, Maori faces are becoming more and more common. Take Shane Taurima who now fronts as Q&A’s lead interviewer. As an aside, I think Shane was the best choice. He’s a very experienced journo, impeccably neutral and suited to long form interviews. Anywho, TVNZ also has Miriama Kamo fronting Sunday, Jenny May-Coffin doing sports on the 6pm bulletin, Greg Boyd (who I think is Maori) presenting the late night news and the likes of Jodi Ihaka and Scotty Morrison fronting TVNZ’s Maori shows. These are, however, isolated examples. I can’t name a Maori reporter on One News, Closeup or Breakfast. Pretty poor considering 1) TVNZ is, supposedly, a public broadcaster and 2) would employ 50 or more journalists across One News, Closeup, Breakfast and so on. As the public broadcaster at least 15% of these journalists should be Maori.

TV3 doesn’t do much better. Mike McRoberts anchors 3 News, Mihingarangi Forbes used to be, prior to her move to Maori TV, one of the lead reporters for Campbell Live and Duncan Garner is 3 News’ political reporter. Other than that, I struggle to think of any Maori faces. Clint Brown used to, before he disgraced himself, front the sports and Carol Hirschfield anchored 3 News before her move to Maori TV. On that point, it’s interesting to note the talent sharing between TV3 and Maori TV.

Radio New Zealand does far worse than both TVNZ and TV3. There isn’t a Maori voice to be heard. Te Manu Korihi, RNZ’s Maori news segment, gets some airing, but nothing significant. Natalie Mankelow is, or was last year, the Maori issues reporter. Having said that, RNZ’s coverage of Maori issues is always fair and balanced and, considering there are few Maori voices, very good. Better than TVNZ’s coverage. TVNZ often looks for the sensationalist angle on Maori stories and rarely, rarely, ever so rarely looks for a Maori face and voice on anything – not even Maori issues. TV3 does OK with Maori issues. Nothing to write home about though.

Maori voices are thin on talkback radio too. There’s Willie Jackson and John Tamihere on RadioLive but that’s about it. I can’t find any Maori on Newstalk ZB.

Things are equally bare in the print media. Yvonne Tahana and James Ihaka are fairly prominent reporters for the Herald, but, you guessed it, they’re about it. Karla Akuhata does good work for the Waikato Times, however she’s is a lone ranger I think. Over at Fairfax, I’m not aware of any Maori journalists. Kate Chapman, who isn’t Maori, covers the Maori Party and Maori politics (she does it well I should add). I suppose one problem with trying to determine who the Maori reporters in print are is that many Maori don’t carry Maori names.

Looking at the Listener, North and South and Metro there isn’t a Maori perspective to be found. It’s as if Maori don’t exist.

Mana Magazine is, of course, pretty much exclusively Maori.

On the subject of exclusively Maori there’s Maori TV. Their coverage of Maori issues is, as you’d expect, brilliant. Their coverage of non-Maori issues is also good. Adrian Stevanon, who is Samoan I believe, covers pacific issues much better than Barbara Dreaver from TVNZ. The vast majority of faces on Maori TV are Maori – which is what you’d expect from, keyword, Maori TV.

It’s not only important to have Maori speaking on Maori issues, but it’s also useful to have a Maori person giving some perspective on mainstream issues. A Maori commentator will, almost certainly, offer a perspective that other people don’t have, see or understand. A few pop up from time to time, Rawiri Taonui, Maria Bargh, Willie Jackson, John Tamihere and myself are the only ones that come up with any regularity though. This isn’t good enough, especially from our public broadcasters. To be fair, the situation is changing, but there’s still a long, long way to go. Feel free to leave a comment if I’ve missed anyone.

23 comments:

  1. Kia ora Morgan,
    Don't forget Simon Dallow is also Maori and speaks impeccable Te Reo - which I believe he learnt before he found out his Maori links.

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  2. Clint Brown is of Fijian descent.

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  3. John Barr, Communications Manager, Radio New ZealandMarch 20, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    There are several significant omissions in your suggestion that "there isn’t a Maori voice to be heard on Radio New Zealand". Radio New Zealand broadcasts Te Manu Korihi, its Maori news programme four times a day in the high rating Morning Report and Checkpoint programmes. In addition to Te Manu Korihi, Radio New Zealand broadcasts specific Maori music and documentary programmes with on-air programme presenters including Eru Rerekura, Justine Murray, and Maraea Rakuraku. Maori journalists Rosemary Rangitauira and Natalie Mankelow are regularly heard on air covering stories for Radio New Zealand News.

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    1. Thanks for that, John. I knew of Eru Rerekura, but I completely forgot to add him. I've never heard of nor heard on rnz Justine Murray and Maraea Rakuraku. I put Natalie Mankelow in there, but, again, have never heard of nor heard on rnz Rosemary Rangitauira.

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    2. Maraea and Justine present Te Ahi Kaa show, I think it's on Sunday afternoons. Heard it for the first time two weeks ago, although I had heard of the show before that, only coz Maraea is a friend of one of my aunts mind.

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    3. Heh, all this time I thought his name was Eruera Kura, not Eru Rerekura

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    4. The RNZ guy has little to rebut your point, Morgan. RNZ National typically has Pakeha talking about Maori - with no Maori input. It is basically Radio Rhodesia as far as indigenous content is concerned. What is the % of Maori voices on air at RNZ National? (Let's not even think about RNZ Concert!) We hear many, many, many foreign accents - many recent NZ immigrants - on RNZ National, but f all Maori. The question to Mr Barr is what % of Maori voices are on air?

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  4. Stephen Smith (Ngāti Whakaue), a fine TVNZ news reporter.

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  5. Kia ora

    Couldn't agree more with most of this - definitely need to get more of our people involved in media etc...

    Just wondering how you came up with your list of Maori blogs/ bloggers? Am intrigued that you're not aware of more Maori bloggers. (Am self-interestedly writing this as a Maori blogger, I'll admit...)

    Maraea Rakuraku and Justine Murray produce the 1 hr weekly show 'Te Ahi Kaa' on RNZ on Sunday nites (6pm) on RNZ.

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  6. Kia ora atps,

    I came up with the list from 1) the blogs I knew of and 2)blogs people had told me about. I know there are more, but many are inactive and others are more personal than political. To be honest, I was only looking at political blogs. I know the likes of Leonie Pihama and Marama Davidson write posts sometimes, but not with any frequency. From my count, there are 13 links to Maori blogs under the Maori blogs list and about 5-7 more that I haven't linked to due to, among other things, infrequent posting.

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    1. kia ora
      naku te he - i didn't realise you only meant political blogs.
      i suppose mine would come in as a more personal blog, altho i frequently comment on political issues... www.tetauokioki.blogspot.com
      thanks for the lists to other blogs tho - and am looking fwd to seeing more maori journos and commentators...

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    2. Yeah people like Leonie and I will be the first to claim that we don't post regularly enough. We want to remedy that. Watch this space. I have to do something about the full-time job, the six kids, the community volunteer work and the hapuu responsibilities getting in the way. Jokes - we all have responsibilities I know and it's about prioritising. This may have motivated me just enough to stop being thought of as a 'fringe' person and get solid wahine voices more into the arena. Cheers as always Morgan.

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    3. although interesting you name Kaapua, whose voice I support and adore, although she hasn't posted anything since Nov 2011 - just saying lol.

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    4. Yeah, I notice Kaapua hasn't posted for ages. I don't think she can anymore now that she's in Tariana's office. Looking forward to more post from you and Leonie.

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  7. Shane Taurima's appointment to Q and A is a cynical move by TVNZ to look Maori friendly and take the heat off calls to remove Paul Holmes who is a documented racist and cant provide the facade of objectivity on Maori/Treaty issues.

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  8. Dude, you need to extend your reading of blogs and what/ who you identify as Maori. There are Maori spread throughout mainstream. All with opinions and commenting on issues relevant to Maori- Good to see you teokioki (great and through analysis on that blog). The question you need to be asking is are they in positions of power? Because if you're an editor YOU have all levels of power as opposed to a reporter and its not such a simple thing as if they are Maori either. Some of our best advocates are non- Maori. Two RNZ reporters for instance Lois Williams and Craig Ashworth ( no longer there) do/did awesome jobs. Because you end up being the "voice" of Maori on marae, native you need to get more onto it Morgan before making such blanket and naive statements otherwise what you do is what maintream does all the time. You end up ghettoising, simplifying complex issues and just adding to the whitenoise. BTW Garner aint Maori and if you listened to RNZ you'd know about Rosemary Rangitauira and the other Maori staff there. The question to ask about RNZ is why? The Maori unit (Te Manukorihi)is headed by a welshman.

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  9. I know there are Maori spread throughout the mainstream media, but you can't tell me there's a significant number? Barely enough to make even the smallest of dents against the white out in the MSM.

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  10. Define significant number? Sure numbers on the ground help but it is what and how something is framed and relayed that is more important. Who actually holds the power that dishes out how the majority view Maori issues? that's the question. Don't think just because someone is Maori it saves the day. Some Maori in media suck. They are real Uncle Toms and a bit like some Maori cops more racist than the most racist pakeha you've ever encountered or they are so complicit through laziness, lack of energy and just not in positions of power so they too end up perpetuating and whats worse believing mainstream view. Thats why programmes like Native Affairs are so important because they aren't as shackled by their generic, sound good, tick -the boxes rhetoric Charter as TVNZ and RNZ are and if they are, they don't appear to be. That's not to say they're perfect. Not at all but like anything they are there and given how we have ready access to the internet, newspapers etc we should never rely on a single source for information. At least Native have given Marae a shakeup though really Jodi Ihaka, gurl you need to give it up already

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  11. Kia ora,
    Karla Akuhata has just resigned from the Waikato Times effective yesterday

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    1. Carly Tawhiao does an awesome job at Rural Press, Whare Akuhata - Rotorua Daily Post - freelances to the Whakatane Beacon (remember he ran Pukaea singehandedly for years and years)

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    2. Mihingarangi ForbesApril 2, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      Kia ora e hoa,

      Yes I have gone to Maori TV but happy to say TV3 does have a group of great Maori programme makers there is 60 minutes reporter Sarah Hall from Ngati Ranginui, Stacey Murdoch produces for Campbell Live, Ashley Tulloch is a sports reporter, Harley Peters, Billy Weepu and Wuz Armstrong are all camera operators and there are others in and around the office.

      On the other hand Greg Boyd and Duncan Garner are not Maori.

      Mauriora Mihingarangi Forbes

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  12. ZB is racist talk-hate radio at it's terminable, ad-ridden, moronic worst; however one of the few rays of sanity to get into the cellar is Danny Watson, who I understand is Maori.

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  13. E hoa, Garner isn't Maori. I think you're referring to Scott Campbell, who used to work at TV3 as a political reporter. He covered Maori stories also. Chur

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