Role Call: Māori Affairs Reporter

Role Call: Māori Affairs Reporter
Rhian Deutrom

Telum is chatting to journalists across New Zealand to understand different newsroom roles, in a new ongoing content series, Role Call. This week, we spoke to Te Rina Triponel, Māori Affairs Reporter at the New Zealand Herald.

Walk us through the role of a Māori Affairs Reporter:
A Māori Affairs Reporter seeks to represent the Māori community across Aotearoa in such a way that it positively amplifies the voices of our people. The "for Māori, by Māori" approach is crucial when reporting on Māori topics, it gives us the opportunity to share insights of our life from our lens, and not a tauiwi (non-Māori) lens.

A Māori news reporter can often feel alienated, not just myself, but many of my reporter friends from various outlets. We recognise that this space wasn't initially made for us, but we gather together to ensure that we change the narrative and the future can be a lot brighter. I've had wonderful support from my seniors at the New Zealand Herald.

Do you spend a lot of time in the newsroom, or are you usually based out in the community?
I am a mix of both to be honest. If a person doesn't live in Tāmaki, then we'll zoom, kōrero (meet) by phone, or if I'm lucky, link them up with a photographer who can ask questions on my behalf! It's really flexible.

Personally, I like to get out into the community to get a grassroots understanding of issues. It's usually where all the magic happens! It's where I meet life-changing people, people who make a difference in the world. It inspires me and is probably my favourite part about the job.

What does a day in the life of a Māori Affairs Reporter look like?
I can't speak on behalf of other Māori affairs reporters, but for me, it's always exciting. I am always meeting new people and it gives me the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level - which most Māori enjoy doing, inside and outside of work.

The way Māori connect with one another is always special. We talk about our whakapapa (genealogy) and where we're from. It gives us an insight into who we are, and maybe there's a common link somewhere. Many times, I've accidentally met new cousins who are related to my Nana, and it makes our working partnership even better.

Other than that, our duties are exactly the same as every other Reporter. At times, it may feel like we are working harder than others, because of the importance of our kaupapa (purpose), but overall, it's fun and passion-fuelled.

What big ticket stories are you keeping your eye on in 2022?
My theme is to always amplify the voice of the Moana (inclusive of Māori and Pasifika). Bringing down anyone who seeks to downplay the injustices we experience is always my favourite. 

How can a PR professional engage with a Māori Affairs Reporter?
Always by email. Never by personal social media (I have had this happen to me). I personally don't mind receiving text messages; others may have a different preference. But it's the authenticity that matters to me. 

Don't talk to us if you're not serious. Engage with empathy if you're not Māori. 

Advice for everyone (PR or not PR): If you're tauiwi (not Māori), respect that it isn't your place to facilitate, lead or talk on Māori news or topics. Many people in the media are still learning this, and I'll keep saying it.

Answers submitted by Te Rina Triponel, Māori Affairs Reporter at the New Zealand Herald.

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