MediaJune 1, 2024

The Weekend: Welcoming The Spinoff’s new Ātea editor


Editor Madeleine Chapman looks back on a busy week for budgeters and protesters.

Mōrena and welcome to The Weekend, where it is hopefully sunny in your neck of the woods. Today was a big week for all New Zealanders, no matter how politically engaged you are. On Thursday, finance minister Nicola Willis released the first budget of this coalition government and at the same time, thousands across the country marched in protest against government policies affecting Māori.

It would’ve been a busy week to start any job in journalism but it was a particularly busy week for Liam Rātana to start his new job as The Spinoff’s Ātea editor. Liam had his first day in the office on Monday and by Thursday had written an explainer on tax cuts and inflation, and a compelling feature on Māori protest and the future of activism.

There are few Māori print journalists in New Zealand and even fewer who have a clear remit of telling stories within te ao Māori. It can be (and often is) a daunting task. Any writer who represents or seeks to tell the stories of underserved communities inevitably faces the challenge of trying to tell all stories and also having to tell them exactly right to serve those communities, even (or especially) when that means challenging them.

I’m excited to have Liam joining our team and leading our coverage of te ao Māori. As he talks about on this week’s episode of Behind the Story, while there has been a heartening growth in Māori broadcasters, in his new role Liam’s hoping to convince a few young Māori that writing is the way to go. Watch this space.

And if you have a story you think Liam would be interested in, send your pitches to

This week’s episode of Behind the Story

The Spinoff’s new Ātea editor Liam Rātana started in his role on Monday. On Thursday there were nationwide protests against government policies affecting Māori, as well as the release of the coalition government’s first budget. Rātana jumped straight in, writing a number of stories including a feature on the protests that looked more broadly at Māori activism and asked: Is protesting still the most effective way to bring about lasting change? It’s a compelling read, presenting the views of those who favour different methods of lobbying, and is a strong indication of how Liam approaches his work – with a curious mind and an interest in hearing out all perspectives. Liam joins Madeleine Chapman on Behind the Story to talk te ao Māori reporting and his quest to develop more Māori print journalists.

So what have readers spent the most time reading this week?

Comments of the week

On Rachel’s imaginings of legalised weed

On what makes the news and “container” homes

Small and earnest shout but it never stops feeling great when journalism is genuinely helpful and prompts a bit of real world action — this on Shanti Mathias’s Māori Wards explainer.

Pick up where this leaves off

Sign up for my weekly Saturday newsletter, where I add more handpicked recommended reading and essentially bundle everything up to land in your inbox at 9am.

Keep going!