For more than two decades, David Robie focused as an independent journalist on covering the Asia-Pacific region. He has reported on post-colonial coups, indigenous struggles for independence, social justice, environmental and developmental issues.
He has also clashed at times with authorities and power-brokers in the region. As he says, he must have inherited a “stirrer” streak from his great, great grandfather, James, who edited the Caledonian Mercury in Edinburgh and was a campaigner for civil rights.
A year after his original Eyes of Fire was published, David was arrested by French troops in New Caledonia for photographing military camps set up to intimidate indigenous Kanak villagers.
In the early 1990s, he was recruited by the University of Papua New Guinea to head the journalism programme, turning the campus newspaper Uni Tavur into an award-winning publication. He followed this with a similar feat at the University of the South Pacific and Wansolwara where his students won a string of international awards for their coverage of the George Speight attempted coup in Fiji in 2000.
He is professor of Pacific journalism at the Auckland University of Technology and since 2007 has been director of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre where his students run independent news and analysis coverage of the region. He has won university awards for both teaching and research.
Last year, Little Island published David's book Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific which covers both his international media career and his challenges posed for journalism education in the digital era. Investigative journalist John Pilger described it as an “extraordinary secret history”.
He blogs at Café Pacific.