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WATCHING NOW PEOPLE

“IN ANY WORK

YOU’RE INVOLVED IN, DON’T YOU WANT TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE TO FULFIL THEIR POTENTIAL? PEOPLE HELPED ME FULFIL MINE...”

that she has been most excited about has been the slow but steady incorporation of Te Reo and a Ma¯ori perspective into our main- stream news. Carol is Nga¯ti Porou, from her mother’s side but after her mother died when Carol was 10, that part of her life remained somewhat unexplored, in the personal sense, until her time at Ma¯ori TV. “It brought me into Te Ao Ma¯ori; my professional life had never intersected with who I was, and what I needed to personally explore. It was hugely valuable to me at every level.” This year, Carol and her son Will (26), are embarking on a Te Reo journey together after signing up to learn the language. “I’ve done bits and pieces, but it’s an ongoing journey, and we’re going to learn together this year, which is really exciting.” Back when she was fronting the TV3 news, Carol’s own journey exploring her Ma¯ori heritage was an ongoing one, but she says she was very aware of how important it was for people to see a Ma¯ori woman on televi- sion. “Various people on the street would approach me and it always made me feel good. I remember being at the bank one day and the man helping me – I think he was Samoan – said ‘it is so good to see a brown person fronting our nightly news.’ I felt incredibly grateful for that comment,”she says. “You realise the power of being that person that someone can identify with and think to themselves, ‘If I wanted to, I could do that too!’ Because it wasn’t common then. And I wasn’t the first – but it certainly was unusual. If it was an oppor- tunity for other young, brown women to think ‘I could do something like that’, then I feel like I did something meaningful.” When it comes to watching the media be- come slowly more equal, in terms of genders, as well as slowly more diverse, Carol says zworking under Stuff’s Chief Executive Sinead Boucher is a true joy. “It’s extraordinary to see Sinead’s incredibly bold leadership over the last two years in particular. She’s an amazing inspiration and frankly, it’s a thrill to see some- one like her – a woman like her – lead the way for other media organisations about the reality of walking the walk and building a company that is true to the values you espouse.”

“Is the rest of the media there?” she asks. “I think it’s still very slow; it’s a grind in terms of getting women into those senior manage- ment positions. Maybe you can look at it in parallel to what’s happened with Te Reo – it certainly didn’t happen overnight, but it’s starting to happen.” Carol says the difference that more women and more diversity can bring to a workplace is immeasurable. “I truly believe you need diversity to form a strong fabric within whatever organisation you work in – and by that, I mean women and people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds, who bring a collective view about how they deal with a power structure. It’s very different to the individualistic, corpo- rate male approach.” She also cites Jacinda Ardern for having made a huge difference in how we see that power operate. “It’s an amazing time to be working in the media, to be honest, in what is happening globally, but also what is happening in our own country when it comes to those senior levels of power.” All through her career, Carol says, she was lucky to have really good male mentors as well who gave her the space to succeed. “What I’ve always felt is, in any work you’re in- volved in, don’t you want to help other peo- ple to fulfil their potential? People helped me fulfil mine and nothing gives me greater plea- sure then seeing it in others.” Part of her role in mentoring other women is “clearing some of that bullshit that gets in the way for women,” she says. “Women self-censor harder than men. And they think ‘I won’t be seen as the kind of person who could take that position’ – and it’s absolutely not true. Women bring different characteristics and qualities that make for a better workplace, and a better world.”

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