Staff Reporter: Pacific Media Centre
A Triangle TV Tnews intern and continuing AUT University media student and a former Fiji newspaper publisher have been awarded the two AUT/PIMA Pasifika communication scholarships for this year.
John Pulu, a 20-year-old former Otahuhu College student who is now in the final year of a Bachelor of Communication Studies television major, has won the undergraduate award.
Thakur Ranjit Singh, 53, a former publisher of the Fiji Daily Post who migrated to New Zealand with his family and is an outspoken columnist for papers such as the Fiji Times, Fiji Sun and Indian Newslink and a community advocate, has been awarded the postgraduate award. He will undertake a Master in Communication Studies degree.
The annual scholarships have been sponsored by AUT's School of Communication Studies in partnership with the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) since 2003.
While at Otahuhu College, John Pulu helped produce a news item broadcast on TVNZ's Tagata Pasifika about the "gateway" project enabling students from decile one schools in South Auckland to get industry experience.
"I'm a firm believer that Pacific people deserve to be served by and represented in the media and I have worked hard for this goal since leaving high school," he says.
After joining AUT, he has worked as a part-time reporter filming and covering news items for the Tongan community on T-News.
As part of his coursework, Pulu has also filmed a couple of short documentaries currently available on the Pacific Media Centre's channel on YouTube.
They are Kava Commune, which was screened at the 2008 Manukau Film Festival, and a short video about the 2008 PIMA conference which Pulu filmed, directed, and edited.
As well as television, Pulu co-hosted the breakfast shift at the Pacific Islands radio network Niu FM.
"At AUT’s Pacific Media Centre, I'm an enthusiastic and motivated team player, often volunteering in the centre’s projects," he says. "I like to share my experiences and advice with fellow students and hope this will develop into a mentor role in the future."
Pulu is also a student representative for PIMA.
"I'm passionate about documenting Pacific Island issues and highlighting our rich history."
Ranjit Singh was publisher of the Fiji Daily Post at the time of the George Speight coup in 2000 and he wrote a lively weekly column about cultural and political issues.
While much of his career has been in administrative and business roles - he graduated from the University of the South Pacific and later did an MBA at Massey University in New Zealand - he has for several years been striving to take up a career in journalism.
He has a keen interest in Pacific issues, human rights and political and social challenges facing the region. At one stage, he was an exchange student from USP with the University of Papua New Guinea.
Since migrating to Auckland, he has contributed regular columns to newspapers in Fiji and New Zealand and believes the AUT/PIMA scholarship will help refine his analytical and journalistic skills for community benefit.
"I welcome the challenge to contribute to more analytical journalism and media research for the Pacific. We need more Pacific voices in the media in New Zealand," he says.
"And it will be good for PIMA to have a fresh, different perspective too."
Pictured: Top: John Pulu at work in the AUT television studio. Above: Ranjit Singh at PIMA 2008.
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