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.