Around 40% of the first funding round for Public Interest Journalism has gone to projects benefitting Māori journalism.

Established in February with a $55m government allocation to NZ On Air, the fund aims to support at-risk public interest journalism, meeting local, regional and national audience needs.

The first funding round of $9.6m has just been awarded by NZ On Air, and $3.5m from the first round will go to projects with a Māori journalism impact (with a further $1.6m already committed for a second year in one large-scale project.)

The Te Rito training programme will provide the country’s first comprehensive Māori and diverse voices journalism cadetship scheme to train and hire 25 new journalists. Te Rito is a collaboration between Māori Television, Newshub, NZME, and Pacific Media Network and 11 other supporting media organisations.

Another large scale training scheme Pīpī Paopao from Aotearoa Media Collective will deliver regional workshops for more than 100 iwi radio staff, to strengthen Māori public interest journalism.

A boost in funding for Radio Waatea will enable the Auckland urban Māori station to deliver a breakfast current affairs show five days a week with a news team able to feed stories to the Iwi Radio Network.

Iwi radio station Awa FM will be funded to report news from the Whanganui Māori perspective in Whanganui dialect reo and English. The Rotorua Weekender will become the only newspaper in the country to print a weekly billingual section which will shine a light on issues for Rotorua iwi.

Northland iwi will see and hear their stories through Haukainga on and iwi radio, and up-and-coming Māori journalists will create a summer edition of The Hui on Māori students at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University will create their own edition of the student magazine Salient, Te Ao Mārama.

Nē?, for The Spinoff will be a podcast and written series exploring hot issues within te ao Māori through an informed and dynamic Māori lens. And Party People is an audio and video series bringing scrutiny and review to Māori politics.

NZ On Air received 123 applications asking for more than $44m from a total pool of $9.6m available in the first round. A panel including independent industry assessors recommended 34 applications for funding.

NZ On Air Head of Journalism Raewyn Rasch says the focus on Māori and journalists from diverse backgrounds is a response to the media sector’s recognition of the need to increase representation within the country’s newsrooms.

She says there is huge demand for Māori journalists and no specific training available, making today’s announcement a very significant step forward.

“We expect to support more training programmes in future rounds, which will collectively deliver a major boost for New Zealand journalism. Training is a vital part of the media landscape that has suffered through increasing financial pressures and by injecting resources back into this area, the Public Interest Journalism Fund will have a positive and long-lasting impact.”

In addition, she says upskilling journalists in all newsrooms about te ao Māori and cultural issues will ensure newsrooms are a better place for Māori journalists to work, and New Zealanders are better informed about issues from a Māori point of view.

Funding details: Māori journalism outcomes


Te Awa, Awa FM for Awa FM, up to $498,370. News made from the perspective of Whanganui Māori in Whanganui dialect reo and English.

Haukāinga, Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika for, up to $460,000. A regional journalism initiative providing news, current affairs and live broadcasts to Māori audiences in Northland and to wider Iwi Radio.

Rotorua Weekender - Te Wāhanga Reo Rua, NZME for Rotorua Weekender, up to $440,000. A weekly bilingual Te Reo Māori and English section in the Rotorua Weekender newspaper to shine a light on local Rotorua iwi issues and people.

Paakiwaha, UMA Broadcasting for, up to $433,000. A bilingual news and current affairs show that will be expanded to provide a breakfast current affairs programme available on iwi radio stations.

Party People, Aotearoa Media Collective for RNZ, Tūranga FM, Radio Waatea, up to $236,930. An audio and video series bringing scrutiny and review to politics, whilst preserving an upbeat and conversational approach to political analysis.

Nē?, Hex Work for The SpinOff, up to $217,325. Nē? is a podcast and written series that will explore hot issues within te ao Māori through an informed and dynamic Māori lens.

The Hui: Summer Edition, Great Southern Television for, The Hui online platforms, up to $178,729. A summer edition of the Māori current affairs programme produced by up-and-coming Māori journalists to be broadcast during The Hui’s summer hiatus.

Te Ao Mārama, Salient Magazine for Salient Magazine, up to $7,291. A special edition of Salient produced by Māori students who will be mentored and supported at Victoria University of Wellington.

Industry Development

Te Rito Journalism Project, NZME, Māori Television, Newshub and Pacific Media Network with 11 support partners, up to $2,419,253 (Funding spans 2 Financial years - $800k in Yr 1). A programme to identify, train, develop and hire 25 cadet Māori, Pasifika and diverse journalists.

Pīpī Paopao, Aotearoa Media Collective, up to $361,815. A training initiative providing regional workshops for more than 100 iwi radio staff, to strengthen Māori public interest journalism in Māori communities.