National | Journalism

‘Kia Hiwa Rā!’ the first book on Māori journalism has launched

Atakohu Middleton with Veteran Māori Journalist Julian Wilcox giving a karakia to unveil Kia Hiwa Rā!: Māori Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Photo supplied: Simon Smith AUT

A book that tells the story of Māori journalism and its rise in New Zealand media has just been launched.

Kia Hiwa Rā!: Māori Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand written by Atakohu Middleton (Ngāti Māhanga) shares the nature of what it means to be a Māori journalist and how they stand out compared to mainstream journalists.

Middleton says the book is a reflection on the difference of Māori journalists and what makes them unique.

“Ahakoa e ōrite ngā uara o te mahi kairipoata Māori te tika, pono, taurite, he rerekē te tirohanga o te iwi Māori, nō reira ka whai te kairipoata Māori i ngā kaupapa rerekē.”

(Even though the values of a Māori journalist are the same -fairness, accuracy and balance - the difference lies in the worldview and perspective of Māori people, which means Māori journalists look to different kinds of stories.)

Māori in media

The book also shares the perspectives of leading Māori journalists in the industry including Peata Melbourne, Piripi Taylor, Oriini Kaipara, Julian Wilcox and their individual rises in the industry.

Atakohu Middleton signing copies of her new book Kia Hiwa Rā!: Māori Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand Photo / Simon Smith AUT

Although Māori journalism is seen across the country in many forms, with Māori stories being pushed beyond their stereotypical narratives, Middleton says the stories Māori are more interested in are different from those the mainstream provides.

“Ko te tikanga o te pukapuka nei kia whakaatu atu ki te katoa he aha tēnei mea te kairipoata Māori. He aha tōna hītori, he aha tana mahi i ia rā, he aha te awenga o te tikanga Māori ki runga i te mahi a te kairipoata Māori.”

(The purpose of the book is to illustrate to all people what it means to be a Māori journalist. It’s history, what their job looks like day to day, and the influence of Māori customs in their reporting.)

Tikanga Māori

In the book Middleton dissects how Māori worldviews are expressed through news story-telling, as well as how traditional Māori customs have been remodeled for news.

Middleton says initiatives such as Te Rito are a breath of fresh air for the industry, introducing a new wave of Māori journalists to the public and allowing a space for rangatahi to get involved.

“He mea nui tērā nā te mea, kua kore he ara ki te mahi kairipoata reo Māori i ēnei rā. Kua katia ngā kura whakangungu kairipoata Māori, nō reira karekau he ara tino mārama ki tēnei momo mahi.”

(It’s a big thing because there are no pathways or avenues for Māori journalists nowadays. Developmental schools that trained Māori journalists have been closed, so there is no clear path to this kind of work.)

Additional reporting / Peata Melbourne