Who is Ken Raumati?
Who is Ken Raumati?
By Coleby Nicholson
An email being circulated amongst members of the New Zealand jewellery industry has caused quite a stir and seems to continue a long-standing industry feud.
The New Zealand jewellery industry has had its fair share of politic recently, but a new furor has erupted after a mysterious email was sent to Jewellery Manufacturers Federation (JMF) president Greg Jones on 21 August.
The email, sent to the JMF website, purportedly came from one Ken Raumati, who claimed he was writing “an investigative article about jewellery apprenticeships, paid workplace training as against school based programmes that are paid for by the attending student,” and that the article would be sent to Australian and NZ jewellery publications for consideration.
Raumati posed a number of questions regarding the funding arrangements for private training organisations for New Zealand jewellery students, alleging that the Jewellery Industry Registration Board of NZ (JIRBNZ), the body responsible for administering training programs, had not received the $10,000 promised to it by JMF.
The journalist continued to ask questions that would be difficult not to construe as openly hostile - enquiring whether Jones thought it “hypocritical that the JMF award apprentices when it is not funding JIRBNZ,” and suggesting that the organisation’s credibility was at risk for “collecting money from its members for this purpose”.
Raumati explained he sought a response from the JMF by August 24, explaining that the publications he was supposedly writing for had deadlines to meet.
Jones, struck by the tone of enquiry, was concerned about the motivations and identity of its author, and the validity of their claim of being a journalist.
The JMF representative was particularly concerned about the author’s stated identity. Although the email was sent from a Hotmail account under the name of ‘Ken Raumati,’ when opened it also contained the name ‘Ken Anderson’.
“The email did not look like it was written by a journalist,” explained Jones, who became increasingly concerned with the matter. “Because this person was claiming to be doing an investigative story, I wanted to make sure he or she was genuine.”
Jones said he had never heard of either a ‘Ken Raumati’ or ‘Ken Anderson’. On August 22, he asked the writer to verify his identity and his credentials as a journalist, and also explained that much of the information in the email was in fact incorrect.
Later that day, Jones received a second email from Raumati/Anderson, demanding that he provide written answers so the JMF president “cannot be misquoted.”
The email asked a number of new questions regarding the JMF’s decision to join the Retailers Association, and also made reference to Jeweller: “I had been reading from Jeweller magazine that the industry in New Zealand is fragmented and at loggerheads.”
Jones responded by providing his telephone number and asking Raumati/Anderson to call him. The purported journalist did not call Jones and instead replied that he was “looking forward to you advising what I have wrong,” explaining that “time changes little in a story like this one”.
Jones told Jeweller that he was perplexed by the exchange.
“I regularly deal with the media and under normal circumstances a journalist would call me and introduce themselves and tell me the story they want to write,” observed Jones. “If I can assist I usually answer any questions they have on the phone or I’m happy to answer via email. But in this case I have no idea who this person is and who they write for.”
A Google search for stories written by a journalist going by the name of either Ken Anderson or Ken Raumati found no results. Jones asked a number of industry colleagues whether they knew a journalist by either name, to no avail, and also contacted Jeweller magazine.
The words “consideration to publish” indicate that Raumati/Anderson had not been commissioned by a publication. In other words, the “journalist” was undertaking a major investigation into the NZ jewellery industry ‘off his own bat’.
Jeweller Magazine – who was named in one of the emails – attempted to contact ‘Ken Raumati’ at the hotmail address to discuss the story and the allegations, but Raumati/Anderson did not respond to three emails.
Deborah Whiting, publisher of the New Zealand industry magazine, Jewellery Time, told Jeweller she didn’t know a Ken Raumati/Anderson and the story had, “nothing to do with Jewellery Time”.
Asked about the identity of Raumati, JWNZ president Steve Crout said: “I have not got a clue. I was asked by [Greg] Jones who also sent his email to me. I read in the email that he is writing an article for consideration to be published. So that surely makes him/her/they a reporter.”
Likewise, JIRB chairman Grant Harrison, whose organisation was the subject of the enquiries made in the email - has claimed to know nothing about the matter, despite the fact its author said he planned to contact him “for balance”.
A number of other industry sources contacted by Jeweller also denied knowing anyone by the either name and JWNZ secretary Craig Anderson did not respond to emails about the mysterious Ken Anderson or Ken Raumati.
No one seems to know whether Mr Ken Raumati or Mr Ken Anderson - investigative reporter actually exists and how to contact him. He has not telephoned Jones to complete the interview and has not made any further contact via email.
Jones said he was happy to answer any questions put to him about the JMF and the NZ jewellery industry, so long as he knows who he’s talking to. He puts the episode down to the continuing disharmony and fractious politics of the Kiwi jewellery industry.
“The whole thing is quite confusing. Normally, potential interviewees try and avoid the media on controversial issues but here is a case of the media avoiding the potential interviewee,” puzzled Jones. “It’s bizarre to say the least.”
Posted August 30, 2011