Pacific Scoop

Pereira hands National Pacific Radio Trust governance to new guard

Samoan community leader Ben Taufua, NPRT trust member Willie Johnston, Tino Pereira, CEO Tom Etuata. (Photo by Gladys Hartson-Shingles.)

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Gladys Hartson-Shingles.

The National Pacific Radio Trust farewelled … and welcomed new members at its Auckland annual general meeting recently in Otahuhu.

Chairman of the board that governs Pacific Media Network, Niu FM and Radio 531pi, Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira, will step down at the end of this year after eight years on the board. New government appointees are businessman Ulu Aiono, chartered accountant Willie Johnston and Broadcaster/Journalist Sandra Kailahi.

Pereira thanked the Pacific island community for its support and urged the community to maintain its support for the Pacific broadcaster at the meeting.

He said it is a relief and a blessing to be stepping down. Pereira acknowledged it’s time to give the opportunity to some one else.

“I am humbled to have been part of the establishment of the network and materialisation of the great advocacy and lobbying by our Pacific pioneers to have their voices heard on air.”

He said the dream to identify the voices and stories of the Pacific people in Aotearoa has been realised.

The former Radio New Zealand broadcaster acknowledged the eight years was not always smooth sailing: “Some parts of the journey were tough issues, like the strategic direction of the radio,” Pereira said.

Despite the rough times Pereira told the community it can be proud of the staff who not only are very talented but are truly committed to the cause.

He firmly believes the staff have been the backbone of the station moving forward: “It has not been easy for them, especially when the staff of Radio 531pi and Niu FM came together in the merge.”

Pereira said: “five years on a board is a long time, eight years it’s time to go.”

NPRT trust member Sandra Kailahi and Tongan community leader Salote Lilo. (Photo by Gladys Hartson-Shingles.)

A wealth of experience in broadcasting joins the board in the form of well known TV presenter from Fair Go and Tagata Pasifika, Sandra Kailahi.

Kailahi said she had to think seriously about moving to this level of governance and is thrilled to be part of it: “I have a keen interest in programming and continuing to provide a network that reflects our communities, our unique cultures and our humour.”

The former Niu FM and Radio 531pi broadcaster is no stranger to the network and looks forward to the next chapter of the station.

“It’s about showing we can stand on our own and continuing the work we do now,” Kailahi adds.

Another big step for the network is to move out of the city and back out South.

Pereira acknowledged the community has been saying for many years “you are in the wrong place.” He admitted they made the wrong decision to move there in the first place.

The board is working to find another space and find ‘a home rather than a station.’

He told the meeting they will be working alongside the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to put a proposal forward to the government in February to discuss the issue of new premises as well as an upgrade to new technology.

Pereira said they hope to move by September 2011.

There was also a call from the meeting to form an advisory board to have a representatives from the nine Pacific island groups to work alongside the board and keep the relationship between the community and the radio strong.

Trustee member of the board Brian Chamberlain said there is an avenue for this to happen with the Auckland Pacific Island Community Radio Trust (APICRT) owner of the frequency Radio 531pi transmits on in Auckland.

The former Chairman of APICRT said the trust is there, it just needs to be revived.

Chamberlain explained it was meant to happen after the two stations merged however this could be one way for the community to get involved.

Left to right: Receptionist Marilynn Matau, Director of Programming Patrick Lino, CEO Tom Etuata, News Reader Jae’d Victor, Marketing and Promotions Nina Fa’amausili. (Photo by Gladys Hartson-Shingles.)

The board and management are also keen to get feedback from the community about how to come up with cost effective ways to measure the success and progress of the network.

Concerns were raised the radio should look at developing a survey to cater for a Pacific island style rather than rely on mainstream processes.

Suggestions were made to get out to the churches and get people to participate in the survey.

Another idea was to engage the Universities who are set up with the format and mechanism’s in place to conduct surveys.

Pereira said it’s not only important to know how many listeners are tuning in but also to focus on the content of the programmes.

While there was only a small turnout for the AGM the Chief Executive is pleased with the feedback from the meeting.

Tom Etuata said it was a productive meeting with a very focused discussion.

“The community have featured high this year and it’s good to show them how the language programmes have move forward with the changes.”

Tino Pereira said he hopes the Radio will continue to make good progress and continue to develop the future needs of the young New Zealand born of our changing demographic.

Gladys Hartson-Shingles is a Graduate Diploma in Journalism student on the Reporting the Pacific Region course at AUT University.