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Cultural collaboration supports Pacific journalism 

Cultural collaboration supports Pacific journalism 

  • 01 Nov 2021
Gesa Luamanu

The launch of Te Rito – which will have a profound transformation effect on New Zealand journalism – is a step closer with the appointment of Gesa Luamanu (pictured) at its helm.

Te Rito is an unprecedented collaboration between four media organisations - Māori Television, Pacific Media Network, Newshub and New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) - with support from NZ On Air via the Public Interest Journalism Fund.

The unique cadetship and development programme will foster and develop talented journalists from communities traditionally underrepresented in media.

Taking the reins as Te Rito Programme Manager/Kaihautū, Gesa has extensive corporate media experience including more than 10 years in senior content, production, and management roles at Sky TV.

Most recently, Gesa has been leading the journalism, factual and documentary content development at Oriana TV.

A proud Samoan, she is a dedicated advocate for Māori and Pacific communities of Aotearoa, embracing Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tino rangatiratanga.

Gesa’s first task will be to support the hiring, training, and development of 25 journalists from communities traditionally underrepresented in newsrooms around New Zealand.

She says the largest challenge will be recruiting Māori, Pacific and diverse cadets into journalism, as it is not seen as an attractive industry; while one of the biggest goals is to create a vibrant, quality and safe learning environment for cadets to have a life-long passion in journalism amidst the chaos of COVID and challenges of modern-day life.

“I’m honoured and blessed to be part of the Te Rito cadetship programme that will awhi and tautua the next generation of Māori, Pasifika and diverse journalists.

“One of the beautiful things about journalism at its premise is storytelling,” Gesa says.

“Te Rito embodies that same spirited passion to be creative and achieve anything in life against all odds - our kaumatua have so much knowledge to offer and like my Mama, I hope to follow that same path of service in support of our cadets and all those involved.

“Le Atua faamanuia i le matou malaga, ia tau nuu ma le manuia.”

Head of News for Māori Television Service Wena Harawira says Gesa is one of the few women in the industry with the cultural, management and media experience necessary to establish Te Rito.

“We're very lucky to have her on-board our waka charting this new course for media in Aotearoa-New Zealand.”

NZME’s Head of Cultural Partnerships Lois Turei adds Gesa’s impressive track record in strategic planning, project delivery and managing stakeholder interests, made her a top contender for the role.

Pacific Media Network Chief Executive Officer Don Mann says it is important for Te Rito to have a kaihautū who not only knows what quality journalism looks like, but who is also an exceptional manager with the ability to bring together people from diverse communities.

Te Rito Cadetship applications are now open with strong interest from potential cadets throughout Aotearoa already registering.

Email to apply.