Friday, 4 May 2012

Three cheers

I was so tempted to join the masses slagging TV3’s new show The GC and use this blog post to point out its inadequacies in the portrayal of young Maori living in Australia. After all the show’s creator and producer, Bailey Mackey, had said the show was ''actually a depiction of Maori presently'' and personally I feel that this is wrong.
I was also particularly perturbed when I read that the show had been sold to New Zealand on Air as a series that would "explore emigration from a Maori perspective and how Tikanga Maori supports them as they adapt to life in a new country". If that was the case what a waste of an opportunity.

However the show has already received its fair share of criticism so much so that it was one of trending topic on social networking site Twitter and so I thought that this post would be better dedicated to something else.

It has been a few days since my last post which was on Tim Groser’s comments that Te Reo Maori should be compulsory in schools and I was delighted to see the issue had picked up by several media outlets.

One of my favourite stories was one produced by Radio New Zealand. In it the radio station had spoken to Waikato University lecturer Pou Temara about his views that the National Party appears to have done more for revitalising Te Reo Maori than Labour.

I am not saying that I agree with the comments but what I did like is that Temara’s view was put forward in the article and then Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia was given the opportunity to dispute the claim.

In less than 200 words (199 to be exact) the story presented another take on the issue while achieving fairness and balance. It takes a fair amount of skill to keep a story short and precise. Newspaper journalists know this and the constant battle in this area is to use the least amount of words to convey the exact meaning of what is intended so ka pai Radio New Zealand.

Another piece that I enjoyed was an editorial that appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times. Written by renowned journalist Keri Welham, it was a personal take on the issue and I was pleased that a newspaper had given the time and space for such a piece because seldom do we see Maori issues in such positive editorials. Too often editors and other management staff in the media only feel compelled to write about Maori issues if the subject is negative, stereotypical and sensational.

And finally the third story I enjoyed was one written by Taranaki Daily News reporter Laird Harper. In it Harper had talked to several principals in his region about the issue and it was good to hear from those who are at the coalface. Unsurprisingly, the three principals were supportive of Groser’s suggestion.
Have you seen an examples where the media has done a good job presenting Maori issues?


  1. I haven't seen anything to add to your list, but I do want to say how much I am enjoying your blog and your analysis. Thank you!

  2. The Labour vs National supporting Maori issues is an interesting one. It is old school socialism (we are all one people except for the class struggle) versus new right economics and globalisation (Francis Fukuyama - end of history) with Maori as bit part players. Neither side cares about Maori. I think National feel less threatened by Maori, hence the willingness to support and promote the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, Kohanga and Treaty settlements. Labour has to get past the class struggle issue before it can properly represent the Maori electorate. Na, kei te tautoko au i a Pou. Kei te tika koe e te matua. Ki a au nei, ko te ara whakamua, ko te tino rangatiratanga. Me riro ma Maori, a matou ake mahi e whakahaere hei painga ma matou.

  3. Labour 'got over' the class struggle thang in the '80s when they became a neoliberal flagship. But I agree that National seem to feel less threatened by Maori, perhaps because they have subverted 'iwi' through 'corporate authority', a culture both Labour and National know and fear.