BY the time you read this article, kua haere aue ki te rohe o Ngati Kahungunu (I would have gone to the region of Ngati Kahungunu) to take up the role of chief reporter at Hawke's Bay Today.

While the change is an exciting one for me, it is also tinged with sadness as I leave the rohe (region) of Te Arawa.

Although my whakapapa (genealogy) is Ngati Maru (Thames) and Te Atihaunuiapaparangi (Whanganui) - Te Arawa has been the iwi which has helped me develop my skills as a Maori reporter.

For almost seven years, I have worked at the Rotorua Daily Post in several different roles, first as a general reporter, who eventually took over the Maori round, to being in charge of sport and finally a co-chief reporter.


My time here has been filled with more highs than lows and I've been lucky to see some historic events unfold for the iwi.

Te Arawa should be proud of its local paper, we were the first regional paper to have a dedicated Maori page. When the Rotorua Daily Post went compact Te Maori became two pages and continued to be filled with positive Maori stories from our rohe. We have looked to incorporate te reo Maori in this section thanks mainly to our Waiariki MP and Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell having a regular fortnightly bilingual column as well as Te Arawa FM breakfast hosts Chey Milne and Manawa Wright who came on board late last year.

I have covered some major events; some happy, some sad and some tragic. From the return of Te Arawa to Matatini Kapa Haka Festival, the death of Sir Howard Morrison and the sad story of Nia Glassie.

One of my most challenging assignments would have to be heading to Ruatoki after the "Terror Raids".

On October 15, 2007, armed police blocked off the small rural settlement of Ruatoki under the Terrorism Suppression Act after it was alleged military-style army camps were being run near the eastern Bay of Plenty settlement.

One week after the raids, my editor wanted an inside look at what life was like in Ruatoki before, during and after the raids. So I spent a couple of days meeting Ruatoki locals and talking to them about what sort of impact the raid had on them as well as where to from here.

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It was a rather daunting task for a reporter just out of journalism school. Despite some initial suspicion from the Ruatoki locals of me being media, eventually they came around and I came away from the experience with a huge amount of respect for Tuhoe.

Another special moment was the return of Te Arawa to the Matatini Kapa Haka Festival and watching the late Taini Morrison's performance on that day. It was spine tingling and epitomised just what Te Arawa brought to kapa haka.

My time at the paper has given me the opportunity to meet some great people from all walks of life, from the late Rawiri Te Whare who played a key role in Te Arawa's Treaty settlement to rising boxing star Summer Lake from the Rotovegas Boxing Gym.

Thanks to the Rotorua Daily Post I was able to realise one of my dreams which was to cover the Rugby World Cup as a sports reporter. To witness Richie McCaw lift the Webb Ellis Trophy in triumph was something special. This is just one of many things I am grateful for from this newspaper which gave me my start in journalism.

Something I will miss, is the hard-working team at our paper - the reporters both past and present work tirelessly to produce a quality paper filled with local news.

While I am sad to leave, I'm also excited about the future for both myself and the Rotorua Daily Post.

Haere ra te whanui o Te Arawa, nga mihi nui ki to tautoko, to manakitanga me to aroha.

Tena koutou, tena koutou kia ora koutou katoa. (Farewell Te Arawa thank you for your support, hospitality and love. Thank you all.)