16 Mar 2015

Newspaper inspired by Te Arawa success

10:00 am on 16 March 2015

A Māori newspaper editor says she was so inspired by the success of a Te Arawa newspaper she decided to launch a local Whanganui version.

The first edition of Te Putake Whanganui Region Maori News.

The first edition of Te Putake Whanganui Region Maori News. Photo: Te Putake

Te Putake Whanganui Region Māori News published its first edition in January and is a joint venture with the Wanganui Chronicle.

Co-editor Kiritahi Firmin said her team felt it was important to keep Whanganui iwi informed, especially after signing its Treaty settlement, Te Ruruku Whakatupua, with the Crown last year.

"It came from the fact that Māngai Nui, our Ngāti Pikiao whānau, were doing really, really well with their sister newspaper The New Zealand Herald", said Ms Firmin.

"It was interesting because in November of last year a collective of us ... set up an iwi communications hub, and what we did was we put out a survey to say, look whānau, we used to have Mana Tangata [newspaper] back in the days ... we wanted to be able to revive those [kinds of stories Mana Tangata used to publish] and just say, 'Look lets bring it back' because we knew that we had settled on our Awa Tupua, on our river claim, so what now? How do our people know what's gonna happen?"

Ms Firmin said during the 20th anniversary of the noho of Pakaitore, her iwi communications hub launched a computer app for people to read the paper online, including pānui (community notices), the Māori fishing calendar, Whanganui Iwi history and information about some of the Marae in the region.

She said the main difference between Te Putake and its predecessor Mana Tangata was that it had editorial independence from the Wanganui Chronicle.