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Tagata Pasifika's Utanga Elected New Chief Of PIMA

Tagata Pasifika's Utanga Elected New Chief Of PIMA


By Sudesh Kissun

AUCKLAND (AUT Journalism/Pacific Media Watch): Cook Islander John Utanga is the new chairperson of New Zealand's Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA).

A senior journalist with TVNZ's Tagata Pasifika and the founding chairperson of PIMA, Utanga takes over the reins from Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala, who stepped down after leading the association for the past three years.

Utanga was elected unopposed at PIMA's annual conference that ended at Auckland University of Technology yesterday.

Lito Vilisoni of Nui FM and Sandra Kailahi of Tagata Pasifika were re-elected vice-chairperson and secretary respectively.

Fijian radio personality Mere Lomaloma Elliott, who is also an AUT-PIMA scholarship student on the AUT postgraduate scholarship programme, will represent radio on the PIMA board.

Several speakers talked about the importance of partnerships with other industry organisations.

AUT staff spoke on a position paper proposing a closer partnership.

AUT has hosted the past four conferences and sponsors two annual Pacific media scholarships through the School of Communication Studies and the Office of Pasifika Advancement.

PIMA chief executive Iulia Leilua, who was re-elected unopposed, said the newly elected executive team will continue to work for Pacific people and journalists in New Zealand.

She said the association would look at increasing awareness of PIMA in New Zealand media and secure sponsors for training and awards.

Leilua said the association would work towards getting support from all Pacific media organisations.

The two-day conference was marked by the absence of journalists from some Pacific media outlets. Some journalists only attended the opening session on Friday or selected sessions.

Leilua said some Pacific media outlets in New Zealand saw themselves as a separate entity to PIMA while others divided by competition and reluctant to work together.

"We need Pacific journalists to give PIMA support throughout the year and not only during the annual conference," she said.

"We can understand that some journalists are busy and attending a two-day conference is a luxury they cannot afford."

Leilua said this year's conference was hindered by a lack of sponsorship.

She blamed this on the resignation of executive members tasked with finding sponsors - one week before the conference.



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