‘NZ is waking up to our … spectrum of colours’, says Pasifika journalist


Journalist Sri Krishnamurthi’s video interview with Alistar Kata.

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Alistar Kata is uniquely placed to talk about diversity in New Zealand media newsrooms.

Not because she was recipient of double awards at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) School of Communication Studies annual awards ceremony in 2015 – the Spasifik Magazine Prize and Storyboard Award for Diversity Reporting, as well as the Radio New Zealand International Award for Asia-Pacific Journalism.

But because this Māori (Ngapuhi)-Cook Islander has been up close and personal with the subject.

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“The Pacific is a huge part of who we are. We need to keep that alive,” she said when completing her Bachelor of Communication Studies (Honours) at AUT in 2015.

Last month the Tagata Pasifika journalist was back at AUT as master of ceremonies at the communication studies awards where – in the wake of the Christchurch mosque massacre on 15 March 2019 she was asked about diversity in New Zealand’s newsrooms.

“People are waking up to the idea that New Zealand is not black-and-white anymore, New Zealand is now a spectrum of colours – different points of view, different skin colours, different ethnicities and our audience is starting to wake up to that,” she said.

“To accept that brown face on TV, to accept that maybe the chief editor of The New Zealand Herald will be Pacific Island or Indian soon, to accept that their different voices in our community.”

The genesis for this interview was Michael Andrew’s story on the Pacific Media Watch website How journalists can improve diversity in the media.

That article was written just two weeks after the tragic event unfolded in Christchurch.

Sri Krishnamurthi is an experienced journalist and a current Postgraduate Diploma of Communication Studies student in digital media and contributor to Pacific Media Watch.

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