Pacific Scoop

Inquisitive journalist Efeso Collins stood down from Radio 531pi

Broadcaster Efeso Collins has been stood down from his weekend programme on Radio 531pi.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Gladys Hartson.

Members of the Pacific community have come out in support of a popular radio announcer after he was stood down from his weekend show Talanoa Pacific on Thursday.

According to a blog, Efeso Collins, an announcer for Radio 531pi posted a notice on Pacificeyewitness website stating he received an email from the programme director of Pacific Media Network, Pere Matai, outlining serious matters had arisen since they last spoke two weeks ago, and as a result he would be rested from presenting this weekend.

The handling of $4.8 million dollars of taxpayer’s money granted to an organization called Pacific Islands Economic Development Agency Ltd (PEDA) created huge debate amongst the listeners. (See Pacific Scoop analysis for more on this issue.) Collins says he and many in his community wanted answers from the government and PEDA.

Collins and his colleague, host of Island time and head announcer Mary Pahi, posted blogs on the website regarding the PEDA issue expressing their difference of opinion on the matter. (See Collins’ entry) and (Pahi’s entry).

The polarised positions expressed on the website demonstrate how sensitive this issue (of PEDA receiving almost $5 million of Government funds over the next four years) has become.

“It saddens me it has come to this, and somehow I have become embroiled in this issue,” Collins adds.

A masters graduate from Auckland University, Collins says if we as Pacific media are not prepared to ask the ‘hard questions’ who will?

Collins says we need to stop “pandering to those who control the funding”. Pacific Media Network receives government funding.

What kind of a message does that give our Pacific broadcasters/journalists? “If you’re not nice to people of influence when you conduct an interview, they won’t continue to fund us?” He says.

Collins would not go into the details why he has been rested from the show. According to his blog he would await the outcome and would be seeking legal advice.

Pere Maitai via text says he will not be commenting on an internal staff matter.

Pacific Scoop contacted Chair of the National Pacific Radio Trust, Tino Perira, seeking clarity on why Collins was stood down from the radio station. Perira said he was aware of the issue but would not comment stating only that it is a management issue and that Radio 531pi’s management will deal with it.

Head announcer for 531pi, Mary Pahi, responded to Pacific Scoop after this article went live. This was her response:

“The issue regarding Efeso is no longer in my realm of responsibilities, it never has been.

“It is a process before the CEO Tom Etuata and the Board so I am prevented from talking about it,” Mary Pahi said.

Gladys Hartson is a Graduate Diploma in Journalism student at AUT University and is working with Pacific Media Watch.


  1. Mike, 19. June 2010, 16:17

    Good on you Efeso, the Pacific community needs more people with guts like you to ask the question on our behalf. Irrespective of who is in govt the process should always be transparent.

    Mr Matai should be supporting his staff rather then towing the line of bureaucracy. Where is your leadership skills? If Pacific people are not allowed to ask the hard question then who will?

    By the way this can all be resolved if PEDA can show the community what they intended to do with the money.

  2. ryu, 30. July 2010, 5:02

    tom etuata made a brilliant program director and is continuing to be a strong leader as the CEO……531pi is a community station and it will continue to be, it’s ashame that people voice their opinions in such dramatic public ways (which is fine, to an extent)… are communicating through mediums of mass media, push to ask the hard questions but just know there’s a downfall…..everybody is heeding every word.

    PEDA have an unknown track recorcd, but thanks to PEDA our pacific peoples look even more gullable than before. stop using the fact that pacific people DO need help with upskiilling because that is truth, but PEDA what users!
    Greedy PEDA
    sorry efeso but if you talk too much and dog on the boss you get your cumupence. its a risk you take as a journo/radio announcer, the fallback is on you.

  3. Tasi, 5. August 2010, 15:25

    ryu, “cumupence”? So what you’re saying is a journalist should not be free to speak because his boss might sack him for carrying contrary views to other journalists? How silly and immature!