At Whakaata Māori we strive to be a highly trusted source of Māori news that elevates Māori voices and promotes Māori perspectives.
We uphold and maintain high journalistic standards that are consistent with our values, kia tika, kia pono, kia aroha, kia Māori.
Last month, allegations were made about the way in which a complaint about an online Te Ao Māori news article was managed by the Kaihautū (Chief Executive) and senior management. The article focused on the operation of a polling booth at Manurewa Marae during the 2023 general election.
An independent investigation into the allegations has found there was no political interference or breach of editorial independence.
“We welcome the independent investigation report that has found that the allegations are not substantiated,” says Jamie Tuuta, Toihau of Te Rūnanga Kaiwhakatere o Whakaata Māori (Whakaata Māori Board).
“The report finds the Kaihautū’s actions were not a breach of editorial independence but were in keeping with his responsibility as Editor-in-Chief to maintain Whakaata Māori’s standards of editorial integrity,” he said.
Whakaata Māori undertook an internal review into the allegations. But at the request of the Kaihautū, the rūnanga instigated an independent investigation.
“The independent investigation confirms the results of the internal review that was carried out when the allegations were first raised. Its findings support the board’s confidence that editorial policies were upheld and provides an external legal report to maintain public confidence,” said Mr Tuuta.
The investigation found there was no political interference or a misappropriation of Whakaata Māori’s platform for the political purpose of advancing the interests of Te Pāti Māori. There was no conflict of interest on the part of the Kaihautū, nor did he undermine the journalistic integrity and independence of Whakaata Māori.
“The investigation findings shows that the Acting Director of Content and Director of Audience and Partnerships took the appropriate and necessary actions to uphold our editorial and complaint policies and the integrity of our news service,” says Mr Tuuta.
“The report supports the view taken by senior management that the original article was in breach of the media standards of balance, Māori Television Editorial Policies and the New Zealand Media Council principles,” says Mr Tuuta.
“We are pleased the investigation is now completed and our full focus can be on implementing our digital transformation plans which will see a stronger focus on digital news. We will continue to serve our linear audience but offer more content on our news website and app, Te Ao Māori News,” says Mr Tuuta.
There will be no further comment made by Whakaata Māori.
For an electronic copy of the Terms of Reference and Independent Report please email Makere Edwards, Pou Whatu Tangata | Publicity & Communications Manager
The full report has been released without appendices for privacy reasons and specific parts of the report have been redacted for privacy reasons.