Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

New cadets to lift Pasifika, Māori and Diversity voices in media

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Gladys Hartson | Senior Journalist

Lifting the voice and perspective that speaks to Pasifika, Māori and diverse communities is a key focus for new cadets in the second instalment of the Te Rito Journalism Project.

After the success of the inaugural project last year, that saw 21 cadets graduate from the year-long programme and offered roles within the news industry, the project this year will focus on 12 cadets whose backgrounds include Māori, Fijian, Tongan, Samoan, Chinese, Niuean, and Indian.

Head of the Te Rito Project Lois Turei says she is excited to see what the new cadets will bring to the course and to the industry.

“We’ve got a range of ages between 18 and 40 and they are going to bring their lived experience, their cultural aspects to journalism, to the industry,” she says.

“And that’s what we need; to diversify, and the industry is ready for it, wants it and I strongly believe that there needs to be more of us to help affect that change in the industry, to help shift the approach to the way we do news, the way we deliver news, the way we assess news.”

Representing one of the four partner newsrooms of the Te Rito Project, Pacific Media Network General Manager of Content Susana Guttenbeil says they are happy to embrace the next wave of Pacific journalists coming through.

“We know that the number of Pacific journalists in the industry is far too low to where it should be, it’s 1.8 percent of the total proportion of journalists in this country so we’re so excited to see Pasifika newbies come through into this space and make it their own.”

Twelve cadets who come from a range of backgrounds have the opportunity to gain real world journalism experience through the Te Rito Journalism Project. Photo: Tagata Pasifika – Gladys Hartson

Of Samoan and Chinese heritage, mother of five Alualumoana Lakisha Luaitalo is enjoying the challenge as a new cadet and her journey into media.

“I feel like it’s an open door to where journalism can go for more people, especially being Samoan, Pasifika, Maori whatever it is, is kind of stepping out of the comfort zone and being heard. It’s like journalism for me is to be heard.”

Fellow cadet Merewai Durutalo says, being raised by her grandparents in Fiji and being surrounded by rich stories has been an inspiration.

“A lot of that came from storytelling from my Tubumu (grandmother), so that has carried on with me and I’ve grown up and found it very valuable,” she says.

“In this time as Pasifika as well, we need our stories out there from our perspective, our lens, our cultural lens.”

Communications graduate William Sangster says he wants to prove to himself that there are no boundaries or ceilings in life.

“I would personally like to improve the stories in our disability and Pacific community. This opportunity is a huge blessing to add to my skill-set going forward.”

William, who lives with cerebral palsy, says no matter what the situation anything is possible, “so if I can help set an example for others then why not you. You got to believe you can make a difference and you got a story to tell.”



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