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Aitutaki resident puts pen to paper to realise 10-year newspaper dream

Friday 17 March 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National, Outer Islands

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Aitutaki resident puts pen to paper to realise 10-year newspaper dream
Alan Nanai produces the weekly Morning Star newspaper in Aitutaki. Picture: MELINA ETCHES/23031512

Recognising an opportunity that takes dedication, hard work and thick skin, Aitutakian entrepreneur Alan Nanai has taken on producing the island’s Morning Star newspaper.

Taking on financial risk and negative comments from people, Nanai has produced 28 booklet sized Morning Star issues once a week for almost six months now.

“People run me down and say it’s not going to work but I just carry on,” said Nanai.

“I can take constructive criticism from people, and I know I’m taking a risk, but I’m doing it.”

His concept of producing a newspaper for Aitutaki came about a decade ago. However, back then other things came up, “but the idea was always still in the back of my mind,” Nanai said.

Although he has no experience in journalism, Nanai says he wasn’t discouraged. “I thought I’ll give it a go and see how far I will go.”

A good friend Mark Henry from overseas helped out with the initial set up and purchased an A3 printer and a laptop for Morning Star.

Nanai played around with the Publisher App and did a mock run with assistance from one of his daughters who suggested he make adjustments to the front page. Things took off from there.

His first print edition of 20 issues had eight pages in colour for $2 which he delivered to a few stores on the island.

“After dropping off my first copies, I went home thinking are people going to buy it?”

Nanai was happy to see the newspapers had sold out a few days later.

However, as time went by the costs involved in printing in colour was just too high and he had to re-evaluate the production.

“At one stage I was going to give up, but anyway I got re-motivated,” Nanai said.

Today, Morning Star costs $3 per issue and is printed in black and white on folded A4 paper. Nanai is looking into purchasing a larger printer which can print the A3 size.

“I’m working towards improving the size and the content of Morning Star.”

A one-man band, Nanai uses his smart phone to take photographs, does the layout, writes, prints and delivers the newspaper on Friday mornings to Tina & Co, Vonnia’s and TNM store in town.

“People here are realising its good to have something like this, and to put notices in, I enjoy it and many have shown their support.

“I designed this paper for our community here and I plan to take this online and I’m thankful the public is accepting it.”

Nanai is appreciative to his daughters for their contribution and to his mentors Teina Bishop and George Turia.