New research comparing news stories about Māori shown in Māori television news bulletins to English-language news has found that Māori news in English-language bulletins is relatively rare, and prioritises violence and criminality.
The study was published in the inaugural issue of MAI Journal: A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, published by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. The paper by Dr Ray Nairn, Angela Moewaka Barnes, Dr Tim McCreanor, Belinda Borell, Jenny Rankine and Amanda Gregory is titled “‘Māori News is Bad News’: That’s certainly so on television.”
The researchers examined a representative sample of television news coverage of Māori stories gathered from Te Kāea (Māori TV), TV1 (both English-language and Te Karere), TV3 and Prime during a six-month period. They looked at how many Māori stories there were, and the tone of each piece.
They found Māori stories made up less than two per cent of the news items in the English-language newscasts and the majority of these items encouraged viewers to think about Māori in terms of violence towards and abuse of babies and children in their care.
Dr Nairn says there were other Māori stories available but not broadcast. “We conclude that English-language television, like other media, is committed to promoting the hegemonic, racist narrative that excludes and denigrates Māori.”
In contrast, he says, representations of Māori in Māori-language news bulletins were more varied and lacked the relentless negativity of the English-language bulletins.
“Te Kāea and Te Karere routinely broadcast Māori news stories in which Māori people fill diverse roles and events are placed with the appropriate cultural context. That means there is no justification for limiting Māori participation in English-language news stories to the current offerings that are so damaging for all living in Aotearoa.”
MAI Journal publishes multidisciplinary peer-reviewed articles around indigenous knowledge and development in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. The journal is published online and all content is free to access. www.journal.mai.ac.nz
This journal has evolved from MAI Review, and complements AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples. The Editors are Professor Michael Walker and Dr Tracey McIntosh.
Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) is one of New Zealand’s seven Centres of Research Excellence and consists of 16 participating research entities and is hosted by The University of Auckland. NPM conducts research of relevance to Māori communities and is an important vehicle by which New Zealand continues to be a key player in global indigenous research and affairs. Its research is underpinned by the vision to realise the creative potential of Māori communities and to bring about positive change and transformation in the nation and wider world.