Torika wins top award

Stuff News Auckland senior news reporter Torika Tokalau with her Voyager Media Community Journalist of the Year Award. Ms Tokalau is the first Fijian to win in the category at the prestigious annual awards. Picture: SUPPLIED

FORMER local journalist Torika Tokalau is the first Fijian to win an award at New Zealand’s premier media industry event, the Voyager Media Awards.

Receiving the Community Journalist of the Year award at the annual ceremony in Auckland last Saturday, Ms Tokalau was ranked among the best of New Zealand’s journalists in 2018.

Speaking from New Zealand yesterday, Ms Tokalau said she was elated with the recognition.

“I’m so happy! I really didn’t think I’d win, I was just happy to be nominated,” she said.

“I feel so honoured to be recognised with this achievement, not only as a journalist but as a Fijian journalist and a journalist from the Pacific.”

She said the Voyagers Award was one of the most prestigious awards for the journalism industry in New Zealand which made her win all the more worthwhile.

“I’ve only been in this industry in New Zealand for almost three years and this year was the first time I entered.

“I take this win as recognition for the hard work I’ve put in as a journalist but also as a single mum trying to juggle two children and a full time job. “It’s a career defining moment but it’s also a challenge for me to keep working harder.

“I am grateful to Stuff for allowing me to be a part of an amazing team, and to my former editor Marika Hill for the support and guidance she’s given me.”

Stuff Auckland news director Anna Loren said Torika was a tenacious and driven reporter with a great nose for news.

“She is based in West Auckland and completely owns her patch – from court and crime reporting to council developments to slice-of-life stories about everyday people doing extraordinary things,” she said.

“Torika has written a number of quality stories during her time with us, but a few stand out for me personally.

“The community reporter award is hotly contested by reporters from newsrooms around the country and it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person.

“I am very proud of Torika and know she will continue to do great things.”

Proud and emotional mother Lia Seruvakula said she was not surprised when her daughter won the award.

“She is the daughter I know and raised,” she said.

“She has always been a very strong and driven person and is an inspiration to us and especially to her siblings.”

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