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 MÄori 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 MÄori 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 MÄori 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 MÄngai PÄho says he must be “going to something better”, so I suppose one question is whether Morning Report is “something better”.