TJ Aumua

TJ Aumua

Journalist, Tagata Pasifika / Communications Writer, Alliance Community Initiatives Trust
Bachelor of Communication Studies (Honours)
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Journalism

There's a need to better represent Pacific and indigenous issues in the media, says AUT communication studies alumna TJ Aumua.

"I've always felt that there aren't enough Pacific and indigenous issues and stories represented in the New Zealand mainstream media. When we are represented, it's often in a negative light. I wanted to help change that. That's why I came to AUT to study journalism."

She considers herself lucky to have had the guidance of the Pacific Media Centre throughout her studies, says TJ who was a contributor for the Pacific Media Centre and Pacific Scoop, and a summer research intern with the Pacific Journalism Review.

"The Pacific Media Centre at AUT is the only independent news organisation in the world that has a specific focus on Asia-Pacific and South-Pacific media freedom, human rights and social development. It has taught so much more about the Pacific, and how truly unique we are as a people and region," says TJ who received the Pacific Media Centre diversity storyboard award.

A life-changing experience
After completing her undergraduate degree in 2013, TJ chose to enrol in the Bachelor of Communication Studies (Honours).

"The Bachelor of Communication Studies (Honours) included spending a semester at the University of Helsinki. I knew that would be a life-changing experience! The courses I studied in Finland were based around minority representation in the media and foreign reporting; everything I'm passionate about. Being selected to complete part of my honours degree in Helsinki was one of my biggest successes."

For her honours dissertation, TJ analysed the media coverage of Fiji's 2014 general election.

"A local magazine somehow managed to publish critical and hard news stories under a series of government controlled media decrees, so my research looked at how they managed to do that and what was different about their editorial philosophy."

Creating career-ready graduates
The practical experience at AUT was a highlight of her studies, TJ says.

"AUT's resources are amazing! We had access to state-of-the-art camera and film equipment, recording studios and editing programmes. Being able to have hands-on experience with all the latest technology was awesome.

"It was also fun learning how to incorporate all these media platforms into journalism, so we could practise storytelling through different types of media. In today's digital world and the changing landscape of journalism this was also super important to learn."

Another highpoint for TJ was a two-week journalism placement in Fiji where she got to capture how much climate change is affecting people's welfare and health.

TJ spent 2017 overseas travelling Europe on her big OE. Now she is back in Auckland working as a journalist for Pacific current affairs show, Tagata Pasifika and as a communications writer for Alliance Community Initiatives Trust based in South Auckland.