NZME partners with Google and media leaders to empower indigenous reporters

The journalism programme, Te Rito, sponsored by New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), Whakaata Māori, Pacific Media Network (PMN) and Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ, in conjunction with funding from NZ On Air's Public Interest Journalism Fund, has partnered with Google to deliver a ground-breaking indigenous journalism workshop.

The immersive four-day workshop was held this week at Te Kotahitanga Marae, in Tuakau. The 24 journalists who attended represented a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, including First Nations, Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Solomon Islands, and Indian heritage.

The hui (meeting) was a journey of cultural confidence and competence in journalism. A key theme was the importance of connections and tapping into the journalists’ cultural aspects and lived experiences.

The journalists delved into a range of subjects, including ethics and responsibilities, skills in recognising and verifying fake images or information, engaging audiences through digital storytelling, and indigenous perspectives in the newsroom.

Highlights included learning songs and dances from each culture and a day trip to Māngere mountain where the journalists helped put down a hāngi (traditional ground-cooked meal) and learned the rich history of the area.

Lois Turei, NZME’s head of Cultural Partnerships and Newsroom Diversity, and the Te Rito programme Manager, speaks to the importance of empowering indigenous journalism.

"This collaboration marks an historic moment in our media landscape, where we come together to provide a platform for authentic indigenous storytelling. It's an opportunity to foster understanding and unity across cultures and communities through journalism."

“We came together to provide a platform to explore cultural perspectives in journalism and delve beneath the superficial layers to provide authentic, indigenous voices in stories. It has been an enlightening and empowering experience.”

Murray Kirkness, Chief Content Officer - Publishing at NZ Herald, echoes Turei, highlighting the significance of the initiative.

"NZME believes in the power of diverse voices in the media. This partnership is testament to our commitment to empower indigenous voices, foster inclusivity, and support underrepresented communities.”

Uma Patel, Google News Lab Lead for Australia, and New Zealand says they want to cultivate a community of indigenous journalists from across the Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia.

"This is the second year Google is supporting the Te Rito journalism workshop and I'm so pleased we're able to extend the impact this time to Australian Indigenous journalists. Audiences, newsrooms, and journalists all benefit from a diverse news ecosystem and I'm really looking forward to seeing what these young journalists do with the digital skills they learn during the camp.”

Wena Harawira, Director of News & Current Affairs at Whakaata Māori underscores the importance of this trans-Tasman partnership.

“It’s a privilege for Te Rito cadets and indigenous participants at the hui to be hosted by Ngāti Tipa at Te Kotahitanga Marae, through the generosity of Google’s sponsorship. It’s also a rare opportunity for Māori and indigenous journalists to share insights and look at ways we can improve the way we tell our stories.”

Susana Guttenbeil, GM Content PMN, says how thrilled she is to have Pacific journalists take part in the workshop.

“As Tagata Moana and close relatives of Māori, we welcome the opportunity to connect and contribute to new ways of journalism that continue to empower our communities. To share and korero with our neighbouring mana whenua from Australia is a significant move to unifying our voices together.”

Sarah de Croy, Director of Newsgathering, Newshub says they are delighted with the progress of the Te Rito Journalism Programme.

“We’re incredibly proud of the work that media organisations have put into creating the Te Rito Journalism Programme, and it was incredibly rewarding for our cadets to meet some of Australia’s Indigenous cadets for the first time this year.”