National | Stuff

Māori consultant is encouraging Stuff to share pou tiaki with Newshub

With Stuff Group buying Newshub from Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), former Stuff pou tiaki editor, Carmen Parahi wants Stuff to continue using pou tiaki and to share it with its new branch.

“That is their taonga, that is Stuff’s mahi that they will have forever.

“I would encourage Stuff to continue to do that work and to do that work with Newshub, and so I am really excited for them from a pou tiaki perspective.”

Pou Tiaki is part of Stuff’s aims to provide equal representation in news for all marginalised communities including Māori, Pacific, LGBTQIA+ and disabled people.

It was introduced after Stuff published Our Truth Tā Mātou Pono: The Truth about Aotearoa’ in 2020, a public apology for the way it portrayed Māori, from its first 19th century newspaper editions up until 2020.

“Get them [Newshub] to improve their representation of Māori and marginalised communities as well,” Parahi, who is now a consultant at Te Amokura told Te Ao Māori News.

On Tuesday morning, Stuff and Newshub staff went into separate meetings at the same time to be told Newshub’s 6pm bulletin and website had been saved by Stuff Group.

The arrangement will come into effect on Saturday, July 6, which is a day after the date announced for Newshub’s official closure.

The Stuff-made show will broadcast hour-long shows for weekdays and 30-minute shows for the weekend.

Stuff will also take over Newshub’s website but will drop the brand.

Parahi, a former Native Affairs current affairs programme producer at Whakaata Māori, believes if there were any company tasked to take on TV3′s 6pm news bulletin, it would be Stuff due to their audiences being the same.

“There is an audience that goes there at 6pm; they are the same audience that buys newspapers; these are our older Pākehā people and they love 6pm and they love newspapers.

“But what we will see is something new and innovative and I’m really looking forward to that.”

She called Stuff a “lean media machine” and told Te Ao Māori News this new deal would be beneficial for Aotearoa.

“It has benefits for New Zealand democracy because it’s important that we continue to have a strong news media industry as part of our fourth estate in Aotearoa.

“New Zealand media is required and needed,” she said.

Parahi thinks the deal was a “very calculated” move by Stuff, as it would bring in money and also a new competitor.

“They’re in this to compete with TVNZ, let’s be really clear about that.

“They’re also in this to make some money. They’re not going to do it without thinking there is money to be made here.”

Stuff vs TVNZ

Before the deal, Stuff’s biggest competition in the media market was NZME, specifically the New Zealand Herald, which has both a print edition and multi-media content online.

NZME had also made a bid on Newshub.

“Now Stuff can compete with New Zealand’s public broadcaster, which I think is a good thing and it is needed and required.

“As an industry, it’s needed and as a country, it’s needed,” Parahi said.

One of the biggest worries many people had was with Newshub gone, it would be bad for New Zealand democracy as it was going to leave TVNZ 1News as the only free-to-air broadcast news bulletin at 6pm.

Parahi believes it’s an opportunity for Stuff.

“I would imagine it was a competitive and commercial call for it to be able to compete with TVNZ,” she said.

Who is paying for this?

Most media around the country have been going through their own financial hardship, with TVNZ cutting long-running shows like Sunday and Fair Go, and Newshub about to be dumped before Stuff rescued it; other media including Stuff have laid off many journalists in the past two years.

But with many media organisations doing it hard, how could Stuff afford to buy even just a fraction of what WBD was throwing out?

Parahi explained Stuff didn’t need to tell its shareholders how much money it had or didn’t have.

“One thing I keep seeing is media commentators who are often saying ‘Stuff has no money,’ ‘The whole media sector is struggling’ but Stuff is a private commercial company.

“Stuff wouldn’t had taken on this fiscal challenge if it didn’t have the money to do it.”