Friday, May 7, 2010
Tribute to Elma MaUa, a Pacific journalism pioneer
By Gladys Hartson: Pacific Media Watch
Pacific Island journalists and broadcasters in New Zealand have paid tribute to veteran broadcaster and journalist Elma MaUa who has passed away after a long illness.
MaUa was one of the first Pacific Island women journalists in the NZ media industry.
Journalists and broadcasters remembered MaUa in their own way, hosting their own memorial events.
Former colleague and Pacificeyewitness website publisher Vienna Richards shared her memories.
“I first met Elma in the mid-1990s. She was doing a story on Pacific women and the issues they faced with the mainstream health system,” Richards said. “I was working in health at the time and she called me up out of the blue for an interview.”
Richards remembers thinking “this woman is on to it”. It was only after MaUa’s death on April 28 did Richards recall that it was her first experience of being interviewed by a Pacific Islands journalist - and a woman.
MaUa was known for her passion for Pacific media with her involvement with the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA).
Richards said: “She was a real professional, and told it like it was.”
“I will miss her and it’s a real shame we won’t have her as a mentor for the next lot of Pacific journalists and broadcasters coming through.”
Pacific Radio News newsreader Jae’d Victor, a veteran of 18 years in Pacific radio, recalled his time working with MaUa at Niu FM.
“She was a woman who had so much knowledge. She was an expert in her field, particularly in sport,”he said.
“Elma was never one to mince words!” Victor added.
“Those of our Pacific journalist/broadcasters already in the media industry, need to put their foot forward and ensure the doors are open for up and coming journalists so they can make their mark like Elma did.”
MaUa, who migrated to New Zealand in the mid-1950s from the Cook Islands, was one of the first Pacific journalists to work for Radio New Zealand in the mid-1980s.
She was sports editor for the Radio New Zealand International service that was launched in 1990.
MaUa was aged 61. She is survived by her five children.
Gladys Hartson is a Graduate Diploma in Journalism student at AUT University and is working with the Pacific Media Centre's Pacific Media Watch.
Pictured: Elma MaUa and top (right front) with the Radio NZ International team. Photos: RNZI