Opinion: Pacific Islands Forum- Speak up, ask questions

Wednesday August 14, 2019 Written by Published in Opinion
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shortly after arriving in Tuvalu yesterday for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.  19081318 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shortly after arriving in Tuvalu yesterday for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting. 19081318

Today a mass of journalists with cameras, mobile phones and recorders surrounded the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern.

Only after minutes of arriving in Tuvalu, large media outlets like One News, ABC, Islands Business, Radio New Zealand, Fiji Sun, and PNG Post Courier were present, and the journalists jostled to ask her questions.

The Australian and New Zealand journalists were shouting over each other, waving their hands and edging their recorders closer and closer to Ardern.

It was very intimidating competing with more experienced journalists whose questions I thought would be much better than mine.

Even One News reporter Barbara Dreaver was there, and she told me I better get my question in quick.

Despite standing directly in front of Ardern, I was cut off several times but somewhere in the chaos I managed to get a question in.

In short press appearances like that there is only enough time to get in a few questions.

Ardern was very good at answering questions fluidly and took only one or two from each journalist.

I think I’ll always remember that moment when Ardern said she would answer my question first.  

I was shocked, slightly disorientated by the ruckus of aggressive voices that followed.  

I remember what my mentor, Stefan Armbruster, who stood by my side had said, “Speak up and just say it.”

Soon after my question, Ardern answered three more from some of the seasoned Pacific journalists, before taking her leave.

I know as a reporter the most important thing is to be brave enough to ask questions so I am proud of that moment and thankful for the support from an amazing teacher. 

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