When demigod Māui brought fire to the world, he did so using trickery, tenacity and cheek, traits that would define his character in Māori mythology.
Fire was contained in the fingernails of the goddess of fire, Mahuika, which Māui managed to steal by cunning and deception.
Furious at his trickery, Mahuika threw a burning toenail on the ground to set the mountain on fire. Māui changed into the native hawk kāhu to escape the flames but the underside of his wings were singed a glowing red.
The kāhu, Aotearoa's majestic native bird of prey, is embodied in lore as a messenger to the gods –smart, cheeky and discerning. That made him a fitting mascot to represent NZME's online section devoted to Māori content.
Kāhu is NZME's digital platform that showcases Māori stories and talent drawn from our newsrooms across Aotearoa and complemented by the best of Māori news from media partners Māori Television, and RNZ, including Moana Maniapoto's award-winning news show, Te Ao with Moana.
Over the last year, Kāhu has expanded its reach across digital and audio platforms with highlights including Stacey Morrison's Up to Speed with Te Reo podcast series - which hit the top spot on the Apple chart during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - and Astley Nathan's Kaupapa Companies, a series celebrating tangata whenua businesses.
This week we launched Kāhu ki Rotorua, a bilingual section in the Rotorua Weekender paper that is aimed at shining a light on local iwi issues and people. This kaupapa has been made possible by New Zealand On Air's public interest journalism funding.
Introducing Kāhu late last year was a pivotal moment for NZME. The strategy in doing so was a low-key, long-term plan to build trust among our communities, recruit Māori staff, increase content relevant to Māori audiences, and tackle issues important to Māori health, welfare, education, and development.
We wanted to create a sustainable, authentic platform for Māori storytelling, a process that requires trust and patience.
While there is still a long way to go, we have made progress, in large part to staff committed to bringing a te ao Māori lens to storytelling. We have recruited young Māori journalists into the newsroom and drawn on the wide range of digital, broadcasting, video and audio skills from other Māori staff in the company that wanted to be part of this kaupapa.
One such project has been an animated video that Allan George (script/editing), John Pelasio (creative) and Adam Pomana (audio) produced in collaboration with Mukpuddy Animation Studio. The video encapsulates the wairua (spirit) of Kāhu and draws inspiration from the gods and mauri (life force) of te ao Māori.
We are proud to release "Kāhu, hāro i te rangi - Soar through the sky".