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Kia Hiwa Rā: Māori Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand by Atakohu Middleton

Māori journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand has become a vibrant industry, reporting through print, radio, television and the internet. As author Atakohu Middleton (Ngāti Māhanga, Pākehā)  says in her foreword, she wants to tell "a story that hasn't been fully told". 

From the vibrant history of Māori journalism, to the personalities who have fought to carve out space for Māori voices, to how mātauranga Māori is woven into our news, Middleton has created a comprehensive, accessible and important book.

Based wholly on original research, initially for a PhD thesis and reworked to be accessible for a wide audience, Middleton draws on her years of experience working within the industry.

It is deeply researched, with Middleton covering a history of Māori language and Māori interest print journalism from the 1800s to digital world we live in now, as well as the historical development of Māori radio and TV and journalism training.

She takes real news stories and examines how standard news values are interpreted in a Māori paradigm, as well as examining how elements of whaikōrero translate into news language and framing, and how tapu and noa influence news gathering. The challenges involved in maintaining relationships and tikanga in a fast-paced news environment are also examined. 

A host of well-known reporters share their perspectives on their work; giving insights into how they got into reporting, what happens as they gather information, and, perhaps most importantly, how they balance the demands of journalism and tikanga.

Middleton also takes a peek into the future of Māori interest and language news media in the digital world.

It is the book I wish I had when I was studying journalism at AUT, where Middleton herself teaches now. Kawe Kōrero by Michael King was published in 1985, while Carol Archie's Pou Kōrero was launched at AUT's Ngā Wai o Horotiu Marae in 2007, the year I graduated. Both books, without taking anything away from the authors and their many years of experience within the industry, were written by Pākehā. It is perhaps fitting that Middleton's book was also launched at AUT's marae, but desperately sad that such a vital part of our industry has had to wait so long for more of their story to be told.

The book's blurb says if "you want to be a journalist in Māori media in English or te reo Māori, this book is a must-read." 

I disagree. It is a must read for any journalist in Aotearoa, whether they be working or training, or for anyone interested in the industry. 

Kia Hiwa Rā is a seminal work that will guide and influence the next generation of journalists. 


Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

Huia Publishers



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