The Human Rights Commission is getting into online social media Facebook to get discussions going ahead of Race Relations Day next month.
Those who have something to contribute or say about race relations in New Zealand can visit the Facebook page. Over 1600 people have signed up to the page since it was opened three weeks ago.
"We're finding that social media, including Facebook, are a way for the Commission to create a place where people from all walks of life can discuss what makes good race relations," said commission spokesman Gilbert Wong.
The Facebook page is proving a place of debate and fun. The Commission has set up a contest for fans of the page to contribute their photographs that best illustrate cultural diversity in New Zealand. The winning photograph will be turned into a Race Relations Day postcard.
Corazon Miller, a young Filipina-Kiwi has been awarded the first Asia New Zealand Foundation Kiwi Asian Journalism Scholarship.
The scholarship is designed to attract more young Kiwi Asians into journalism study and to encourage increased representation of Asian communities in mainstream journalism.
Currently employed as a nurse at Auckland Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Ms Miller says she wants to use the communication and cultural skills she has acquired as a health professional to start her new direction as a journalist.
"Despite our growing Asian population, New Zealand has a shortage of Asian journalists. Many of the Asian population fail to identify with the mainstream media," she said.
"As Asian New Zealanders, it is the right to have access to the media. As a Kiwi-Asian journalist, I hope I will be able to facilitate that within their community and within the media industry."
Ms Miller is of Filipina and New Zealand European descent and is well versed in both Tagalog and English.
She has enrolled in a postgraduate diploma in communications studies with a journalism major at AUT University and is planning to do the Asia-Pacific Journalism course.
Ms Miller will get $5000 of her course paid upon completion of her journalism study.
A 2007 survey by the NZ Journalists Training Organisation showed that only 2 per cent of all journalists working in mainstream English language news media were Asian.
Meanwhile, the country's largest newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, has announced that it will be adding a reporter of Asian descent, Derek Cheng, to its press gallery in Wellington.
A former Herald reporter, Mr Cheng returns to the paper to replace Patrick Gower, who has resigned to go to TV3.
The Asian Radio Show is seeking ideas for 2-3 minute stories for the 2010 season series, which runs until June 12.
The magazine-style show about an Asian perspective to all things New Zealand, is described as the first of its kind, and a show full of attitude, humour and irreverence to play on commercial airwaves.
"In the spirit of audience participation, interactivity and capacity building, the show would like all New Zealanders to send in stories worthy of broadcast on radio," the producers said in a statement.
"You could be of Asian origin and if not then you could want to tell something Asian related. It could be quirky, experimental or serious. It could be a love story, an anecdote or a comment on politics. Travel stories are welcome too. As is drama."
Recordings should be in .wav format, and sound can be delivered through a web based drop box. Final date for delivery is April 16. Five of the best stories will be broadcast on the show between May and June.
Email the Asian Radio Show to run ideas and queries. Funded by New Zealand On Air, and started in 2008, the show broadcasts every Friday evening at 7.40pm, and is also available online.
There will be more “cultural festival weeks” following the success of the Jilin Cultural Week on Triangle Television, says the Pacific Culture and Arts Exchange Centre.
Between 7 and 14 February, a series of hour-long documentaries giving viewers a chance to look at life in the Chinese province of Jilin were screened on Triangle and Stratos Television.
"We do not have the ratings, but based on the people I speak with, I think it has been popular and a success, and so we are planning for more such screenings in the near future," said Jim He, spokesman for the centre.
Mr He said the series portrayed some of Jilin's best tourist spots, personalities, arts and business, and was well received by local New Zealanders. "These television festivals open a cultural window for kiwis who will otherwise never get a chance to experience these cultures," he said.
Mr He said his group has confirmed with Triangle Television that it will screen a week-long Nanning culture television week in September, at the same time when a Chinese arts and photo festival will be running.
Triangle Auckland is on UHF channels 41, 42 and 52 and Stratos Television broadcasts nationwide through Sky Digital channel 89, Freeview channel 21 and TelstraClear cable.
Auckland’s 110,000-strong Chinese population will be getting an even wider choice of news with the launch of a new Chinese newspaper this month.
The United Chinese Press, or Lianhe Bao, published three times a week, will offer readers local and Asia-focused news in Chinese script, says editor Yuanyong Yang.
"We want to offer the Chinese more choice of reading material, and will be focusing on the entire Chinese community and not just a particular sector," Mr Yang says.
Besides news, the paper will also be publishing regular opinion pieces from local community leaders, members of Parliament and the police. The paper comes out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and will compete for the same advertising market as The Chinese Herald and Mandarin Pages, two of the more established Chinese-language papers in Auckland. Lianhe Bao is distributed free, and is available at outlets frequented by the Chinese, such as Asian grocery stores and restaurants.
Visit the United Chinese Press online or email Mr Yang.
An Indian community newspaper is questioning the unity of local Indians after community leaders decided to have two separate celebrations to observe the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of India’s Republic Day.
"Why can't the Indian community get together at least on Republic Day and demonstrate the spirit of oneness and purpose?" Indian Newslink editor Venkat Raman wrote in an editorial. "Why should two functions be held on the same day? Who wants this trial of strength? And who won in the end?"
Mr Raman said these were some of the questions his readers had posed, and hoped the local Indian community would present a united front in the next milestone event in 2022 when India marks its Platinum Jubilee of Independence. "We hope there would be no arm wrestling and trial of strength in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the country's freedom."
Disagreement between leaders of the United Indianz and Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust led to the two groups organising separate events, one in Aotea Square and the other at the TelstraClear Events Centre in Manukau last month.
Prime Minister John Key, who spoke at the central city event, says New Zealand's trade and relationship with India is at an all-time high. "The two-way trade between New Zealand peaked to $1 billion for the first time last year," Mr Key said. "But we should not be complacent with the new high reached. New Zealand's trade with China crossed $10 billion in 2009, a year after the Free Trade Agreement was signed with that country."
Mr Key says he has met with India's Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh last year and they are keen to move forward with formal negotiation talks for an FTA between New Zealand and India.
The Rotorua Indian community is still in a state of shock over the sudden death of their community leader. Kishorbhai Morarji, Bay of Plenty Rotorua Indian Association President and editor of the local community newsletter, died in a car accident on 30 January.
Mr Morarji's newsletter covers events and activities of the association and the local Indian community. "He was a very popular man, and devoted to serving the community," said Indian international student Inderjit Singh, who studies hospitality in Rotorua. "Being away from India, I used to look forward to his newsletter which keeps us informed of the activities of the association. Many of us still cannot believe he is gone."
Mr Morarji was returning from a New Zealand Indian Central Association meeting in Morrinsville in Waikato when he met with the accident.
Originally from Navsari, Gujarent, he was raised in Mumbai and migrated to New Zealand later where he ran an electronics business. Mr Morarji, who took office as association president last year, leaves behind his wife and two sons. He was 52.
AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre will be having a busy year ahead.
The centre's television student team Sophie and John Pulu has made a short video about the centre, which can be viewed on YouTube.
- Early March: An evening with Samoan author and storyteller Sia Fiegel (TBA). Email them for more information.
- 8 March: Launch of the book Being the First: Storis Blong Oloketa Mere Lo Solomon Aelan, edited by Alice Aruhe'eta Pollard and Professor Marilyn Waring on International Women's Day. The book is published by the PMC for AUT's Institute of Public Policy and RAMSI. Honiara, Solomon Islands. Read the book online.
- May 2-3: UNESCO World Press Freedom Day conference, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (A focus on the Pacific and the PMC is very involved). Find out more online.
- May 24: Conflict reporting seminar with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and launch of the special edition of Pacific Journalism Review in partnership with the Australian Centre of Independent Journalism (ACIJ) and Massey University journalism school, at the AUT Conference Centre.
- December 1-3: International Creative Industries Conference, including a stream on investigative journalism and Pacific journalism at AUT. Find out more online.
Updates of events can be viewed on the centre's website.
The media chapter in the Race Relations Commissioner’s annual review of race relations for 2009 shows that media and advertising industries continue to receive low numbers of complaints in the way they depict or report on race relations issues.
The report, to be released in March, monitored race-related complaints made to the New Zealand Press Council (NZPC), Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the past five years. The Press Council received the least number of race-related cases (seven) in the period 2005-09. The BSA received 19 complaints, seven of which were received in 2009. The ASA received the most complaints (45), but the ratio of race-related complaints to the total number of complaints was very low. For example, in 2009, the ASA released decisions on 647 complaints and only 10 of these were race related. Overall, the level of race-related complaints about the media to standards bodies remains very low.
The report recommends that a further survey of diversity in newsrooms and journalism schools be undertaken by the JTO in 2010, and that the opportunities and challenges of the internet and social media for race relations be explored.