Newshub, NZME, Māori TV and PMN select 25 budding journalists for Te Rito cadetship

  • 12/01/2022
The Te Rito programme is a collaboration between four media companies.
The Te Rito programme is a collaboration between four media companies.

News outlets have selected their 25 candidates for the inaugural Te Rito cadetship, a development programme that seeks to train budding journalists who reflect the diversity of New Zealand.

The cadets will work across Newshub, New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), Māori TV and the Pacific Media Network throughout 2022, starting on February 7.

The Te Rito programme was announced last year and is backed by the Government's $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF).

The cohort selected represents eight ethnicities (Māori, Samoan, Cook Island, Rotuman, Tongan, Fijian-Indian, South-east Asian, Finnish), 10 languages, the diversability and rainbow communities, and male, female and non-binary cadets.

"Based in Auckland, cadets will be paid a junior wage during the one-year programme of training and work experience," the four outlets said in a joint press release on Wednesday.

"Cadets will experience all facets of journalism across digital, print, radio and broadcast television and be mentored by experienced newsroom operators."

Newshub's director of news, Sarah Bristow, said it was "exciting to have cadets with such diverse backgrounds" wanting to be involved in news journalism and embarking on the Te Rito journey.

The process of interviewing such a diverse range of candidates for the programme was an "inspiring and humbling experience" for the panellists, said NZME's head of cultural partnerships, Lois Turei.

Te Rito partners had been challenged on whether the project would attract 25 suitable candidates, but she says the "response to the recruitment drive was astounding, and competition for places was fierce".

"We had close to 100 applicants who had a broad range of professional skills, cultural grounding, unique lived experiences and a passion to tell stories about issues that affect their communities.

"If we do our job right, we will release a tranche of journalists into newsrooms who have unique and fresh perspectives that better reflect New Zealand communities. How exciting is that?"

The high numbers of people keen to join the programme is heartening to see, says Head of Journalism for NZ On Air, Raewyn Rasch.

"These new cadets will help the PIJF create sustainable change, providing a transformational wave of Māori and Pasifika journalists into the country's newsrooms."

Of the 25 cadets, 10 will be based at Māori TV and another 15 at NZME, though all will learn and work across the newsrooms of the four partners and other affiliated media organisations.

"The Māori TV cohort of Te Rito cadets are all fluent in te reo Māori and are models of Māori language revitalisation in our communities," says Wena Harawira, the company's Tāhuhu Kawe Pūrongo Head of News and Current Affairs.

"This includes five iwi radio staff. It's a lesson to the media industry that future investment must be made in the recruitment and development of Māori journalists."

Pacific Media Network CEO, Don Mann, says each of the cadets brings their own "mana, skills and perspectives" that will "broaden the journalism landscape of Aotearoa".

"This is our investment into strengthening the future journalistic voices of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiva tagata, and with this special programme, we look forward to seeing great returns for our Pasifika and indigenous communities to be seen and heard."