'More Māori needed in newsrooms' - Top Māori affairs reporter

By Aroha Mane

The supreme winner of the Māori Affairs reporter award at last night's Voyager Media Awards says more Māori are needed in the media sector to tell our stories. This comes as the Māori media sector is currently under government review.

Miriama Kamo was announced as Māori affairs winner at the Voyager Media Awards, which celebrate some of Aotearoa's top storytellers across digital, television, radio and print.

“We need more Māori in our newsrooms, anecdotally it's around 5-8%, which is obviously well off the mark of our general population. So, it's vital, if you truly want to reflect who we are as a nation, to increase our pool. But, if there is a bar to be met, what I would say is please don't raise it, don't make it hard for us to get over, equally don't patronise us by lowering it, hold the bar for us."

Nominated alongside Kamo at the awards event in Auckland were fellow journalists Tony Wall, Mihingarangi Forbes, Aroha Awarau, Yvonne Tahana and Ripeka Timutimu.

Acknowledged for her ability to conduct an interview with cultural sensitivity and objectivity, Kamo's exclusive with Ani Black and members of Awanui Black’s whānau made everyone stop and watch.

Tina Wickliffe, who helped judge the award, told Te Ao Māori news, “My co-judge Scott Campbell and I recognise Miriama because this was a difficult issue, but at the end of the day she remained professional and reported this issue without making a judgment.”

Kamo says incorporating manaakitanga is key to the way she conducts herself in mainstream and in te ao Māori. “That was a really difficult interview, but I really respected that Ani sat down to tell her truth and I also respected there was another side to that story as well, and my main aim, always, is that people come out feeling heard.”

Wickliffe says, “Working for Māori can be difficult and this is a hard industry to get into. As Māori, our people will make us accountable, so as a journalist we need to persevere.”

Regardless of the challenges, Māori reporters today need to be diligent and aspire to the success achieved by Kamo.