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It was interesting that the issue of the use of matai titles in the media came up briefly during the recent inaugural NZ Excellence in Reporting Diversity Awards.

This was picked up by Pacific Cooperation Foundation’s David Vaeafe, one of the judges.
Mr Vaeafe says that the Pacific chiefly titles are equivalent to the English ‘Sir’

In Samoa matai are referred to by the use of their matai titles.
E.g: A story on  Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban would refer to her throughout as Luamanuvao, not Ms Laban.

To refer to Luamanuvao as Ms Laban by any media outlet in Samoa would be disrespectful.
That is in the islands however.

New Zealand media’s use of matai titles according to Mr Vaeafe is done on an organisation by organisation basis.

One of the views expressed during the awards ceremony was that implementing the use of matai titles would not be too hard.
“It wouldn’t hurt us to try”

This is a good sign for Pacific Islanders in New Zealand when members of mainstream media take this approach to something so important them.

I guess this is also a sign of NZ’s growing newsroom keeping up with the the people from all walks of life picking up the papers, and tuning into the news bulletins these days.