We've given the mic to the industry's future leaders. Te Aniwa Hurihanganui, a news reporter at Radio New Zealand, shares her thoughts on New Zealand media.
How did you get into journalism? What sparked your interest in getting into the industry?
I can’t remember ever wanting to be a journalist when I was young, but I always loved to write. I enrolled at Massey University’s Bachelor of Communication course and majored in journalism because I thought it might lead to a career where I could write all the time. I’m not sure that studying alone sparked my interest in pursuing a career in the industry though.
At that time I was also learning a lot about myself, reconnecting with my Maori identity and learning more about the history of my people. I realised how important journalism was in highlighting the many systemic issues Maori face in this country.
Why radio as your platform to report on?
I initially wanted to be writing for newspapers or online media after university. But Radio New Zealand happened to be looking for a junior intern interested in Maori news the year after I left, so I leapt at the opportunity. The prospect of having my voice on-air was so daunting and, as expected, I sounded terrible on the radio during my first few weeks on the job. Now I can’t imagine not writing for radio or being on-air.
What’s your favourite piece of work so far?
That’s a hard question because there are so many stories that stand out for me. I’ve especially loved learning and writing about iwi in the process of reaching a treaty settlement with the crown, particularly Ngapuhi, Hauraki and Whakatahea. There are so many interesting and devastating stories in this space that I don’t think get enough attention in mainstream media. Those have been my favourite stories.
What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role?
It has been difficult at times writing Maori stories for audiences that aren’t necessarily Maori. Unpacking things like treaty settlements and explaining Maori ideas can be challenging. It has also been a challenge writing stories about difficult subjects like racism, which tend to spark a lot of negative rhetoric online.
You received the Henare te Ua Maori Journalism Internship at RNZ before being appointed to a permanent role as a reporter for Te Manu Korihi – providing news on Maori issues – what does this role mean to you?
It was such an honour being the first recipient of the Henare te Ua Internship in 2017, and really encouraging to see RNZ investing in Maori journalists. Getting the role has been life-changing. It’s allowed me to tell stories from so many corners of Maori society and learn about different rohe in the process. I’ve also been able to work with some great journalists at RNZ.
What’s your advice you would give to those entering the industry?
Be courageous and work hard. Newsrooms can be daunting, especially for young Maori working in mainstream environments. It can take some courage to back your instincts and pitch stories to people who may have a different world view.