NEW ZEALAND: Author challenges journalists to develop an inclusive media

Carol Archie's new book about cross-cultural reporting released at AUT University

By David Robie
AsiaMedia Contributing Writer

Pacific Media Centre
Monday, August 27, 2007

Auckland, New Zealand --- Journalists have a vital role in creating a media of inclusiveness and helping New Zealanders develop their sense of identity, says the author of a new book on cross-cultural reporting.

Carol Archie, author of Pou Korero: A Journalists' Guide to Maori and Current Affairs being launched at AUT University today, says cross-cultural dialogue rather than separate media is healthy for the country.

Photo by Del Abcede

"The role of our media is not simply about increasing participation for particular groups -- although that's essential, of course," she says in a chapter on the future.

"It's also about providing a forum for diverse people to talk about their differences and work through ways to get on together."

Archie (right), a key member of the journalism team that developed Mana Maori Media into a major news and current affairs service in Maori and English for iwi and National Radio, points to two positive examples of change in the past two years:

  • On Anzac Day 2006, Maori Television exemplified a way of presenting stories that was 'us' in its essence" -- a day long programme warmly hosted by a partnership between Wena Harawira and Judy Bailey.
  • In August 2006, the death of Te Arikinui, Te Atairangikahu, and a week of tangihanga rituals provided  "another opportunity... for us to feel that special essence," although some of the media was "awkward with this story... and unfamiliar with customs."

Reporters covering the Dame Te Ata story often lacked appreciation of the historical significance and political influence of Kingitanga.

The book Pou Korero has been published as a new generation media textbook by the Journalism Training Organisation (JTO). It is being launched today by the Chancellor, Sir Paul Reeves, at AUT University's marae in an event hosted by the Pacific Media Centre.

Pou Korero replaces the booklet Kawe Korero, written by the late journalist and historian Michael King, which has served journalism schools and the media for more than two decades.

It includes chapters on the Treaty of Waitangi, reporting Maori occasions, making contacts, Maori media, good practice and rounds reporting. It also includes a glossary, resources and a pronunciation guide and practice CD.

Archie writes about changes in the Maori language on television, but points out that NZ English is also adapting.

"It is not only Maori who have whanau, who get hoha and tutu with things that might be pakaru," she says.

"Waka-jumping is now the lingo for changing your political party. Te Ware Whare is a place to shop. Kai karts are mobile take-away outlets."

Journalists should contribute to helping New Zealanders develop their sense of identity.

"The first step is for reporters to know something about their own country and its peoples," says Archie.

"This means having a grasp of tikanga and te reo Maori as well as a good understanding of the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

"The next step -- welcoming the burgeoning new cultures in this country with respect and understanding -- will follow naturally and with ease."

Read more at David Robie's media blog, Café Pacific.