29 Oct 2012

Journalist with focus on good news mourned

7:20 pm on 29 October 2012

A senior Maori journalist is being remembered for his natural flair and unique Ngapuhi style of telling a good yarn.

Maori broadcasters are mourning the death of Rau Kapa who died on Saturday, aged 60.

He belongs to the Ngati Whakaheke and Te Aupouri people of the Far North.

The Rev. Rau Kapa was recently ordained as a minister in the Anglican Church - and devoted his time to his faith along with other family members who were staunch parishioners - but was best-known in his role as a journalist.

Rau Kapa started out as television reporter in 1986 working for TVNZ's Te Karere news and lately with Maori Television's Te Kaea programme.

A long-time colleague Rereata Makiha - who also grew up with him near the Hokianga Harbour in Northland - says Rau Kapa took a particular interest in writing stories about Maori aspirations.

Though his assignment editor wanted to give him tougher political stories to cover, Rau Kapa took a shine to writing stories about Maori youth achievements.

Mr Makiha says even when it came to reporting on inter-tribal politics Rau Kapa preferred to focus on Maori success stories, and used his distinctive Ngapuhi dialect to express himself and had an excellent grasp of the Maori language.

Rereata Makiha says Rau Kapa's death comes as a shock because he led an active lifestyle playing touch rugby, regularly biking to work, was an efficient journalist and known for not taking time off work for sick leave.

Rau Kapa was educated at Northland College in Kaikohe and later returned to work there as a regional reporter.

Precious mentor - Maori TV

Maori Television says the death of one its senior journalists is a shock and leaves them short of a precious mentor who helped to develop younger reporters.

Maori TV chief executive, Jim Mather, says in 2005 they hired both Rereata Makiha and Rau Kapa for their expertise in Te Reo Maori, their reputation as skilled journalists, and the wide contacts they had to gather quality news stories.

He says because Rau Kapa also worked at Radio Waatea in South Auckland, his mix of radio and TV experience was an asset to Maori Television.

Mr Mather says Rau Kapa was a role model to younger reporters who gave them plenty of guidance and they learned so much from him.

Rau Kapa's body is lying at Te Kotahitanga Marae in Kaikohe and his funeral service is planned for 30 October.