Guru Writes On

Guru Opens New Page in Kapiti

Coast Newspaper

By Alan Tristram
May 5, 2010

K Gurunathan — Guru to most on the Coast — is once again a leading force among local reporters on the Kapiti Coast.

Just a year after being dumped by the Observer over a controversial story, Guru is writing for the rival local paper, the  Kapiti News.

He’s also writing stories for the Beach FM radio newsroom, and has been doing contract work for the Nature Coast.

All of which is good news to his many thousands of fans, who appreciate his ability to investigate and write penetrating stories about contentious issues.

By doing so, he has made enemies among the wealthy, and powerful, but has made many friends in the community.

Campaign for open government in iwi

In a special interview for KIN, Guru told me his biggest crusade is at present for open government and accountability among local iwi.

For some time before he was dismissed from the Kapiti Observer, Guru had been investigating problems at the Waikanae-based Ati Awa Ki Whakarongotai rununga.

He knew there had been financial irregularities — but his investigation of three Whakarongotai members’ links with the Paraparaumu Airport developers was the touchstone for his sacking.

Among other things, Guru revealed a secret agreement between some iwi members and the airport developers.

Following this, the chair of the Kaumatua council of Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Paul Ropata, spoke of arrogance, contempt treachery and ‘possible corruption’ by those linked with the airport development (see Observer 21/4/09).

However, Guru had made a professional error in the story by saying he’d approached two of  three Maori at the centre of the controversy; when in fact he hadn’t.

Shortly afterwards, Guru was sacked. But the unfairness of this draconian action by the Observer ignited a huge groundswell of public condemnation.

Allegations of financial irregularities

Now, it seems the past has come back to haunt the members of Whakarongotai involved in the action against Guru.

In the past month, the Capital and Coast District Health Board has suspended iwi contracts to run the rununga’s health provider, Hora Te Pai — and has demanded the return of nearly $600,000 of public money.

A police report speaks of money ‘siphoned off” by the rununga, and used to prop up failed businesses, among other irregularities.

Guru must be feeling vindicated — and the Observer ashamed — that the latest developments point to rotten apples in the barrel.

And the rotten apple or apples could be connected with both  the airport story and the health board contracts.

As Guru puts it:”One of the things that has happened one year on (since his sacking) is that the very people who caused me this problem have now been shown up!”

(to be continued)

You did not publish the photo of Guru and Morse ! Very disppointed and Morse was waiting to see himself.

Welcome back Guru we missed you.
You are vindicated, and look forward to reading more aticles.
Can’t hold a good man down.
You are a good man!
Cheers, Betty van Gaalen

Had noticed the marked improvement in the paper since Guru joined the staff. great to have him vindicated.

For your eyes only!
I was thrilled to read the article about Guru – I have been a fan of his from the beginning, when he actually LISTENED to what I was telling him about a human rights issue, and WROTE A STORY ABOUT IT – practically a first for the local media, most of whom tended to duck when they saw me coming. When the Observer interviewed me recently for a “local profile” story, I was terribly terribly tempted to suggest that they pick Guru for their next “profile”! So I’m glad that you have done it instead. The dramatic irony of it was last week when I contacted the Kapiti News about Amnesty’s support for free speech and World Freedom Day on May 3, and in particular, our work on behalf of beleaguered Sri Lankan journalists. And who should pick up the phone on the Editor’s desk of the Kapiti News but beleaguered Sri Lankan journalist Guru – what a hoot! Definitely one of the few who sees the bigger picture, as are you and Helen, Alan – so hats off to the bigger picture emerging all over Kapiti.


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