From the Department of Random Ideas

How about Shane Taurima for Sean Plunket’s replacement on Morning Report?

A radically different style from Plunket, but he does have good interviewing chops, very extensive experience and strong credentials, especially in hard political news. His interviews with party leaders before the election were exceptional and demonstrated that he can’t be pigeonholed as a “brown issues” journalist. To my knowledge he has been scrupulously neutral with regard to politics, throughout both the present and previous governments. He is fluent in te reo, and has — dare I say — a deeper understanding of Māori issues than any other journalist who would be considered for the role. He would bring a marked change of style and perspective to the programme.

I am on record stating a preference for Radio NZ to elevate someone from within their existing journalistic ranks rather than head-hunting a star, but we sure could use some more Māori faces and voices in the mainstream broadcast news. There are a few: Julian Wilcox, Eru Rerekura, Willie Jackson, John Tamihere, Jenny-May Coffin and others all do good work, but at the fringes — on low-rating or niche channels, constricted bulletins and difficult timeslots, or in sports or talkback rather than proper news. There are a number of senior reporting and editorial/production staff — such as Duncan Garner, and Carol Hirschfeld’s departure from Campbell Live in particular is sorely missed — but all in all Mike McRoberts is the only Māori anchor of a mainstream news programme, and most people don’t think of him as such (which is in many ways a testament to his success).

Shane has just quit his job at Marae due to the impending format shift, and his role with TVNZ is apparently in doubt. John Bishara of Te Māngai Pāho says he must be “going to something better”, so I suppose one question is whether Morning Report is “something better”.


11 thoughts on “From the Department of Random Ideas

  1. OK – so if we are pushing out the boat, how about Michael Roberts (AKA Mickey Havoc, AKA Havo)? I hear tell he’s settled down a fair bit now he is 40 or thereabouts, he is an experienced radio presenter on breakfast radio, he is smart and he can conduct an interview well (remember, it was initially Havoc on bfm that exposed Brash as lying over the National Parties association with the Exclusive Bretheran).

    AND he has got a “name” – what more is required??

  2. AND he has got a “name” – what more is required??

    How about some serious hard news experience?

    Havoc is good at what he does and all, but Morning Report isn’t much on fart jokes and “you know what my flatmate did the other night?” Call me old-fashioned, but I sort of like that about it.


  3. Miriama Kamo is often reading the news – and is good within the limited roles she has had.

    But yes a few more brown faces on the radio please.

  4. How about some serious hard news experience?

    Of course! I forgot that Mickey Havoc fails the critical Lew test – the colour of his skin, that stinking honkey can wait at the door while your Maorimander of Eru Rerekura, Willie Jackson, John Tamihere, and Jenny-May Coffin get first dibs, eh?

    We’ll have no whiteys in Lew’s RNZ!!!!

  5. Tom, I’ve had you wrong all this time. I thought you were just another caustic contrarian blue-collar redneck, but in fact you’re a very accomplished deadpan self-satirist. Well played!


  6. But yes a few more brown faces on the radio please.

    Surely this is a questionable comment .. shouldn’t it be on skill as a New Zealander?

  7. How can you have “skill” at being a New Zealander? Do you get a little silver fern badge when you achieve a certain level?

    My argument was that the skills required were as a hard news presenter and interviewer first and foremost. I thought I’d made Shane’s quality in that department entirely plain, and nowhere am I advocating that anyone be appointed on any basis other than merit. Nor do I think Marty is.

    But, those credentials being sufficiently sound, I’d argue it’s important to take cultural factors into consideration when appointing someone, especially when their background brings unique or unusual expertise to the role. Diversity, as I’ve argued before, is valuable.


  8. Of course Havoc has “Hard News” experience…… Plenty of years experience with Russel Brown on his show every Friday morning. ;o)

  9. I like Shane Taurima, and if he replaces plunket that’s significant, but hes a little soft for my liking. My favourite presenter, maori and otherwise, is Julian Wilcox. Wilcox is very sharp. Whilst being respectful, he doesnt shy from the hard questions and has great perseverance. Wilcox would provide the vigour that Plunket offers but would be less inclined to dominate according to his own personal agenda.

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