Auckland University if Technology’s Pacific Media Centre (PMC) was officially launched by the Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Luamanuvao Winnie Laban last month [October 2007].
Media, staff and students watched as the minister was welcomed onto the centre by student Natasha Greer, who performed a traditional Tongan dance.
The PMC is one of a cluster of school research centres linked to AUT’s Creative Industries Research Institute (CIRI) and focuses on Māori, Pasifika and ethnnic media research.
The minister told the audience how PMC had the potential to significantly change the public’s awareness of Pacific issues.
“The media basically provides New Zealanders with much of what they know about the Pacific and its peoples. If the media coverage is once-over-lightly and clichéd, then New Zealanders’ understanding of these issues will be similarly flimsy,” she said.
“If, however, because of the good work that will doubtless come from the centre, the media approach to Pacific issues becomes deeper, more analytical, more attuned, then we will have a more imformed, more aware, and healthier understanding developing in wider New Zealand and the Pacific.”
Associate Professor David Robie, who is the PMC head, announced funding for projects., covering issues mostly sidelined bu mainstream media.
Social documentary photographer John Miller (Ngāpuhi) was awarded a four-month “journalist-in-residence” research fellowship grant to study the controversial Ngatihine forestry block development in Northland, New Zealand, in the 1970s.
Senior television lecturer Jim Marbrook in AUT’s School of Communication Studies was awarded a research grant to to help with the development of a documentary about New Caledonia’s indigenous Kanaks and their political and industrial rights.
- First published in Inside AUT, November 2007.
- Miller, J. (2011). Seeing the wood for the trees: Media coverage of the Ngatihine Forestry Block legal dispute 1976-8. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 17(1), 175-193.