Arataua can be loosely translated as “the path of the warrior”. It is also the name of a highly successful Māori media production company based in Rotorua.
Arataua Media was founded by a dynamic young couple, Kahurangi and Chey Milne, with the mission to uphold te reo Māori and preserve their cultural heritage.
The couple’s Arataua journey began in 2013 when they relocated from Auckland to Kahurangi’s hometown of Rotorua. They wanted to provide their children with a similar upbringing as their own, deeply connected to their Māori heritage.
Prior to their shift, Kahurangi and Chey (pictured below) had cultivated high-profile careers in various facets of the media and television industry.
Chey, renowned as the “Pūkana guy,” was working in iwi radio at Ngāti Hine FM and eventually became a prominent television presenter on shows like “I AM TV” and various popular Māori Television productions. He expanded into directing and producing while also venturing into the world of te reo Māori hip hop with albums like ‘Whaikōrero Raps’.
Kahurangi began her career as a researcher for the documentary series ‘Waka Huia’ at TVNZ after earning her Bachelor of Communication Studies.
Once the couple and their young daughter Atareta settled in Kahurangi’s papa-kāinga in Ōhinemutu, the couple decided to combine their media and marketing skills, and the concept of Arataua Media was born – on the street with the same name, highlighting the importance of whānau.
Creating Arataua Media was, and still is, a testament to their determination to exercise tino rangatiratanga, or sovereignty over their work, life, and business endeavours.
Arataua has focused on nurturing the media industry in Rotorua, and dismantled the misconception that success necessitates being based in Auckland, ardently advocating for local talent and striving to make a lasting impact. Arataua has not only provided sustainable employment opportunities for their team, but also established a purpose-built studio and produced extensive content showcasing the splendour of Rotorua, its people, and their stories.
Celebrating a decade in business this year, which is a remarkable feat, Arataua takes immense pride in reaching this milestone. Their commitment to creating high-quality te reo Māori content has driven them to produce television shows, digital content, campaigns, events and more. Their ultimate goal of raising tamariki kōrero Māori (Māori-speaking children) has required unwavering resilience and intentionality in their endeavours, coupled with their passion to have a successful, independent media and creative business.
Challenges have certainly arisen along their journey, with business sustainability being a recurring issue. Finding skilled workers proficient in te reo Māori who are willing to live and work in Rotorua has proven to be another hurdle. In response, Arataua has adopted a strategy of hiring reo Māori speakers and providing them with the skills needed, emphasising their dedication to nurturing Rotorua-based talent, rather than bringing in people from outside the region.
Although their primary focus has been on te reo Māori content and resources, Arataua has also actively contributed to national and mainstream campaigns, establishing themselves as a versatile media production service capable of handling all aspects of the content pipeline.
Kahurangi and Chey both cherish the unique blend of opportunities that Rotorua offers. As a young family, they appreciate the presence of excellent Māori language immersion schools and early childhood education centres, as well as a thriving Māori-speaking community. Situated in Te Puku o te Ika a Māui (Central North Island), their location provides easy access to clients, and the breath-taking natural beauty of their surroundings serves as a captivating backdrop for their work.
The couple strongly encourages the Rotorua community and organisations to invest in local businesses, emphasising their commitment to bolstering the city’s economy. Their versatility allows them to work with both government agencies and local communities, authentically representing their people and fostering positive relationships through their unique approach.
Looking ahead, Arataua Media has launched the second season of their award-winning podcast ‘Whakamāori’ on RNZ, showcasing local talent and earning recognition at the NZ Podcast Awards. They are also set to release exciting and popular shows like ‘Te Nūtube’, a popular tamariki (children’s) programme featuring their daughter Atareta and her cousin Te Haakura.
With a relentless dedication to their kaupapa, Kahurangi and Chey aim for a future filled with sustainable opportunities for their people and the continued production of quality Māori content accessible to all, while being able to live on their terms in the place they love – Rotorua.