'Compelling body of work' celebrated with top award at Voyager Media Awards

By Te Ao - Māori News

Te Ao with Moana has won Best Current Affairs Series at the 2021 Voyager Media Awards in Auckland on Friday night.

Presented by Moana Maniapoto and produced by son Hikurangi Jackson, the flagship Māori Television current affairs programme examines issues through a Māori lens.

“In a year where Black Lives Matter dominated the global news cycle, this compelling body of work by Māori Television was a strong illustration that racial inequality remains a grave problem in New Zealand’s criminal justice system," said Voyager Media Awards judges Drew Ambrose and Paul Cutler.

The three Te Ao with Moana episodes nominated for the award dealt with themes of crime, racism and redemption. All three episodes resonated powerfully with viewers.

'The Long Reach' by Moana Maniapoto included bringing together two of New Zealand's most high profile criminals, David Tamihere and Teina Pora. 'Once Were Gangsters' by Hikurangi Jackson revealed the raw pain that lingers for gang members and their whānau even after they have left the gang life. 'Police Belly Up' by Sarah Hall explored dodgy police practice.

"From police commissioners to the wrongfully imprisoned, Te Ao with Moana featured rare interviews which were conducted with aplomb," the awards judges said. 

WATCH part one of Te Ao With Moana's The Long Reach in which Moana Maniapoto speaks with Teina Pora.
Watch part two of Te Ao with Moana's The Long Reach in which Moana Maniapoto speaks with David Tamihere.

The judges gave particular praise to the Police Belly Up piece. 

"The judges were particularly impressed with the segment “When a visit to a Police Station Goes Belly Up” which forensically unpacked a questionable forceful arrest responsibly without hyperbole.  This is what public interest journalism is all about.“

Māori Television CEO, Shane Taurima, said the win was a tremendous one given the show was up against strong competition and because of the judges' recognition of high-quality current affairs journalism.

“News that educates people on key societal issues and informs conversation and debate lies at the heart of journalism - and all we do at Te Ao Māori News," he said.

"Stories like those recognised by this award highlight the importance of having Māori newsrooms investigating and covering these key issues. Ka mau te wehi!"

Sharing appreciation for the award with Twitter followers on Saturday, Maniapoto said, "We are honoured at @TeAoWithMOANA". She also acknowledged the other story contributors, "All credit to @hikujackson AKA #KidBoss & the one & only @SarahHallNZ."

Te Ao with Moana was a finalist for the award alongside TVNZ's Sunday programme and Newshub/Discovery NZ.

The Voyager Media Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand journalism and are managed by the News Publishers' Association.

Last year, Te Ao with Moana was the supreme award winner of the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Journalism Awards.

The Māori Television current affairs series first went to air in June 2019.

WATCH Te Ao with Moana's 'Once Were Gangsters'.