Kia ora and Talofa lava.
Just over three and a half years ago, we launched E-Tangata with the backing of The Tindall Foundation. Our aim was to deliver high-quality Māori and Pacific storytelling, interviews, and commentary. We wanted to be an antidote to much of what we saw in the mainstream media.
The Tindall Foundation supported our kaupapa with a donation that helped us to build and launch the website in late 2014, and gave us enough to operate for our first six months. We managed to stretch that money out for more than 18 months by paying almost no one and relying on the koha contributions of many of our writers.
But, eventually, we ran out of money before we were able to convince any other funder that what we were doing was worth supporting. So we went back to The Tindall Foundation, which offered us funding for three more years, on the understanding that we’d find other sources of income by the end of that time.
We’ve given it our best shot. We’ve spent precious time and money talking to philanthropic groups, seeking advice from successful fundraisers, and writing a truckload of funding applications.
But so far without much success. It seems there’s plenty of funding around for almost everything except what we actually do. To fit into some funding boxes, we needed to reshape ourselves into something we weren’t.
That didn’t make much sense to us. And neither does the idea of competing for charity dollars alongside groups devoted to alleviating child poverty or homelessness.
So, as we head into our third and final year of Tindall funding, we still haven’t been able to secure any other significant funding.
And that means we’re facing a serious shortfall of cash. Based on current costs, we’ll be running out of money by early next year.
The Tindall funding has been reducing each year and will be $60k for the next 12 months. That’s just $5k a month — several thousand short of the minimum we need to get by, even taking into account the substantial koha from the inner circle of the E-T team, which has helped to keep us going throughout this project.
And it’s much less than we need to thrive, to ensure our writers are paid a fair amount for their work, to help identify and nurture emerging Māori and Pacific writers, to find, develop and shape new work, to keep the website functioning and up to date, to feed and maintain our Twitter and Facebook accounts, to run a small office in Onehunga, to look for opportunities to earn income, to shape funding applications, to keep our accounts in order and ensure we’re legal and compliant, and to deliver what we hope each week is a high-quality service to our readers.
If you look on our About page, you’ll see what looks like a healthy number on our editorial team. In fact, apart from the two editors, who seem to spend every waking moment thinking and plotting for E-T, everyone is part-time. In terms of actual paid hours, well, that equates to fewer than two full-time staff.
Of course, no one who works for a non-profit expects to get rich, but this is not a recipe for long-term survival, growth, quality — or sanity.
That’s why we’re launching this PressPatron campaign and asking for your support. PressPatron is a crowdfunding platform for journalism sites like ours. It asks readers to help support the work that’s important to them. If everyone who reads and likes our stories donated the equivalent of the price of a flat white every month, our future would be much more secure.
We’ve made some significant gains this year. We’ve built and launched a new website and already seen a more than 200 percent growth in new visitors as a result. We’ve landed NZ On Air funding to produce a series of documentaries to mark Suffrage 125, in partnership with Tawera Productions. And we’ve been asked to become a digital partner of the National Library, making us more visible to more New Zealanders.
But that momentum is already at risk, as we tighten our belts and enforce a kind of no-payment Lent on our writers.
If we’re to develop E-Tangata into an operation that can give Māori and Pasifika communities a strong, articulate media voice, we urgently need to find more funding.
If you can help, we’d really appreciate it. Our target is to raise at least $5k a month. That’s 1,000 people giving $5 a month — or 500 giving $10 per month.
Already we have 81 wonderful people who between them give us just under $1,000 a month.
We hope you’ve seen enough good in our work to join them.
Ngā mihi, ia manuia,
Tapu, Gary, and the E-Tangata team
Thank you for reading E-Tangata. If you like our focus on Māori and Pasifika stories, interviews, and commentary, we need your help. Our content takes skill, long hours and hard work. But we're a small team and non-profit, so we need the support of our readers to keep going. If you support our kaupapa and want to see us continue, please consider contributing $5 or $10 a month.