The Mana Trust

by the Editorial team
Thu 9 Oct 2014
2 min read

The Mana Trust was launched just over 10 years ago as a spinoff from Mana Māori Media, a private company started by three journalists — two Māori, one Pākehā (Piripi Whaanga, Derek Fox and Gary Wilson).

From the early 1990s, MMM had been providing a radio news and current affairs service (in reo Māori as well as reo Pākehā) for RNZ's National Radio and for the network of iwi stations.

The company also founded and produced Mana magazine.

The radio programmes (a little bit of TV too) and print stories came from a Māori/Pasifika/Pākehā journalism team.

The magazine got by on advertising income and on sales (retail and subscriptions) — nearly 10,000 per issue in its best years.

But the radio programmes were funded by contracts with Te Māngai Pāho (for the iwi network service), and with RNZ (for the programmes supplied to National Radio).

We wondered, however, whether Mana's journalism might be valued highly enough to attract philanthropic support.

So it proved when we set up an independent, charitable organisation — the Mana Trust, aiming to strengthen the Māori and Pasifika voice in the New Zealand media.

It was chaired by the late Nin Tomas (an associate professor of law at Auckland University) and included two prominent journalists (Tapu Misa and Wena Harawira) and a senior figure in New Zealand education, Maureen Wilson.

The trust applied to the Tindall Foundation for funding for a range of successful ventures, including major radio interviews, media hui, and training projects.

Last year, with a different line-up of trustees — Tapu Misa, Stacey Morrison and Gary Wilson — the Mana Trust came up with a plan for a Māori/Pasifika website.

Once again the Tindall Foundation made a donation — this time to help establish e-Tangata.

And, here now, it is under way.

You might assume that such an undertaking isn't necessary because, these days, there's a lot of Māori and Pasifika journalism.

But e-Tangata is providing something different.

For a start it's bringing together, on one site, in a largely pro bono venture, the observations of many of our sharpest writers and thinkers.

And it's doing so through a Māori, Pasifika and Pākehā team who see a need for a concerted effort to reflect the whole range of New Zealand society.

Of course, there has been progress without you having to wait for this website.

But we expect that the arrival of e-Tangata will mean significant advances.

The hope is that it will soon serve as a lively forum for discussing Māori and Pasifika issues, and will also provide a place for readers to get to know our movers and shakers and our achievers in politics, arts, sport, education, health … whatever.

If it does no more than that, the website will still benefit our Māori and Pasifika communities.

The information, questions, debates, stories, images, opinions and encouragement will help us deal with the challenges we face.

But, so much the better, if this smorgasbord of content also helps mainstream journalists and the wider public to become more familiar with the worlds of the Kiwis you may not normally mix with.

That is a path worth travelling too.

The Mana Trust: Tapu Misa, Stacey Morrison, Gary Wilson

Advisory trustees: Fiona Cassidy, Paul Diamond, Dale Husband, Richard Pamatatau, Nevak Rogers, Wena Harawira

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