Listen to the Pacific people plea to AUT over diversity future of PMC

531pi Interview
Professor David Robie and Ena Manuireva ... concerned that the Pacific Media Centre will retain its role as a voice for the marginalised. Image: 531pi screenshot APR

Pacific Media Watch newsdesk

A retired university professor and a Tahitian doctoral candidate have appealed to Auckland University of Technology to “listen” to the Asia-Pacific people and stakeholders involved in the Pacific Media Centre when making decisions about its future.

The centre has been embroiled in controversy over its leadership succession since early last month when the 13-year centre’s office was suddenly closed and all its memorabilia, archives and Pacific taonga were packed up and stashed in a locked office.

Also, the centre’s media website has not been active for the past three months since the founding director retired last December.

While the university’s School of Communication Studies has claimed that the office was being “moved”, staff involved in the centre were said to be unaware where this was located.

Expressions for interest in the leadership were called for a week ago by the school management and a new director (or co-directors) – an internal appointment – is expected to be announced next month.

Radio 531pi Pacific Days Show host Ma’a Brian Sagala today interviewed the founding director of the centre, Professor David Robie, a former head of journalism at both the universities of Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, and a Tahitian doctoral candidate, Ena Manuireva, who played a key role in the centre’s nuclear-free Pacific project last year, about the future of the centre.

Both expressed serious concern about the future direction with Dr Robie saying there was a serious gap between AUT’s promises and the reality and Manuireva saying that any dilution of the PMC’s cross-disciplinary role would have a negative impact on the “space” that the PMC had provided for Asia-Pacific voices marginalised by mainstream media.

Dr Robie said that his experience over the past two years had been that management had “not listened” to key people involved in the centre or the Pacific and diversity stakeholders represented by the PMC advisory board.

He said he was concerned that an “agenda” was being pushed.

Manuireva said that AUT should demonstrate greater commitment to the centre and listen to the people who ought to be leading in the future.

The Radio 531pi interview today by Ma’a Brian Sagala.

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