tahiti radio pioneer dies


by Jason Brown, editor, avaiki news agency, reporters


Tahiti broadcasting pioneer Remuna Tufariua died last night at Auckland Hospital, after an unexpectedly short two month struggle with cancer.

Family and friends said he passed "peacefully" shortly before sunset.

Tufariua, 55, was a founding presence at the only pro-independence media organisation in French "occupied" Polynesia, Te Reo o Tefana.

Radio station workers achieved global reach as the only voice of opposition to survive decades of nuclear tests, costing countless trillions in francs. Flooding in at the same time were tens of thousands in soldiers, scientists, sailors, pilots, families and support staff for security, administration, health and education.

Tufariua watched most and reported much over the last three decades, inspiring a small but dedicated group of reporters at the municipal station, started under the Faa'a mayoralty of pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru.

Seconded from the municipality to the radio station, Tufariua remained a reporter's reporter to the end, never letting promotion take him from a beloved profession, journalism.

Overwhelmingly pro-French media competition and strict French press laws – jail strict – saw independence reporters find boldness in commentary and satire; safety in faithful alliance with Temaru.

Countless heartaches of politics saw Tavini grow from an easily dismissible if noisy minority to majority in 2004.

Administrative power was a shock to le Tavini as anyone else.

Progress slowed under relentless political pressure from an enraged pro-French minority stunned at the unthinkable – long time ruler Gaston Flosse was Monsieur le President no more.

Doors to power fell open, and Remuna Tufariua remained falcon-eyed, filing reports, an ever-present cellphone ready at hand.

Tefariua stayed staunch to the end, a fresh t-shirt draped over a chair next to him in the hospital room, showing the white and light blue flag of Tavini Huira'atira, the opposition party founded by Temaru, and a photo of his – once again – president.

Helping upend years of pro-French dominance came at a cost, however.

Two months ago, Tufariua began returning home early, sometimes before sunset, an unheard of event for this late working, all-events radio reporter.

He was tired.

Family urged him to seek medical advice and hepatitis was diagnosed in Tahiti. Under long-term strain, his body was also slowly, unknowingly, succumbing to the creep of cancer.

Calm in countenance, Tufariua joked to the end yesterday, phone in hand, teasing a friend in Tahiti to not let his heart – and other body parts – shake too much in consternation.

Translating roughly in slang as – keep your pants on – a trademark Tufariua tease from his bed in the cancer ward of Auckland City Hospital.

A day before Tufariua died, former Te Reo o Tefana colleague Maire Bopp Dupont-Allport flew from Rarotonga into Auckland, another part of Polynesia. After arriving, plans to return Tufariua to his homeland changed when he went rapidly downhill, drifting in and out of consciousness, dying within hours.

"I know he tried," says Allport, talking with a friend, "but it was his body [stopping doctors from giving him approval to return to Tahiti]."

At his deathbed, Allport sang with family and friends – "No te Ao Maohi e" – a hymn of liberation Remuna sang many times – it is for you, my Polynesian world.

Earlier Bopp-Allport had noticed an artwork on the wall in ward 64 – shiny, transparent little discs, spelling out one, single word.

Singing to a colleague, a man, stroking his arm, tattooed defiantly with the same word, in English.


Surviving Tufariua are three sons, Sten, Stephan and Steven, three granddaughters, former wife Emma Tufariua and long time partner Yvonne Mahatia.

nz mag picks up pacific cable breakthrough

In a rare look outside territorial waters, at least one Pacific media organisation - briefly - examined what could be a major leap forward for Pacific Islands internet access.New ZealandComputerworld journalist Stephen Bell outlines background to an information technology initiative trailblazed by an often maligned SPC. Few others saw any news.

read more | digg story

hark the new jargon in town


New jargon involving "media support organizations" is emerging.

Just a few hundred entries exist under that spelling, similarly the British version with an s instead of a letter z.

An MSO suggests an expansion from institution based programmes to active work in the field.

"media support organisations" - Google Search

un report - make 'em pay


Alarming trends away from already pitiful aid funding levels for developing media appear to be gaining favour among United Nations agencies, including UNESCO.

The World Association of Newspapers and the Media
Development Loan Fund are asking funders – development
aid agencies, corporations, foundations, vendors and
newspapers – to lend, not give, money, at a low rate (optimally
zero percent). This is a novel approach to media assistance
which ties in well with the desire of many funding sources
to support projects that carry a long-term, self-sustainability
goal. Funders will also be able to add grants to their loans,
if they wish, to give an additional boost to worthy press

In a report published 3 May 2006 for World Media Freedom Day, UNESCO chose the theme of media and poverty eradication - apparently believing a solution is to further impoverish developing media. UNESCO claims media organisations have to strive for commercial sustainability before aid "dries up, as it eventually will..."

samoa editor responds to fire attack on free press

In the editor's chair for barely a year, youthful Newsline boss in Samoa faces a journalist's worst nightmare - a fire - suspicious at that - consuming their entire publication.There are, says Cherelle Jackson, no training modules or other resources for what to do when your newsroom is a smoking pile of debris.

read more | digg story