Apr 12, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

New research confirms Maori news is bad news

2 min read

New research comparing news stories about Maori shown in Maori television news bulletins to English-language news has found that Maori 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 Nga Pae o te Maramatanga. The paper by Dr Ray Nairn, Angela Moewaka Barnes, Dr Tim McCreanor, Belinda Borell, Jenny Rankine and Amanda Gregory is titled Maori News is Bad News: Thats certainly so on television.

The researchers examined a representative sample of television news coverage of Maori stories gathered from Te Kaea (Maori TV), TV1 (both English-language and Te Karere), TV3 and Prime during a six-month period. They looked at how many Maori stories there were, and the tone of each piece.

They found Maori 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 Maori in terms of violence towards and abuse of babies and children in their care.

Dr Nairn says there were other Maori 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 Maori.

In contrast, he says, representations of Maori in Maori-language news bulletins were more varied and lacked the relentless negativity of the English-language bulletins.

Te Kaea and Te Karere routinely broadcast Maori news stories in which Maori people fill diverse roles and events are placed with the appropriate cultural context. That means there is no justification for limiting Maori 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.

Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (NPM) is one of New Zealands 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 Maori communities and is an important vehicle by which New Zealand continues to be a key player in global indigenous research and ffairs. Its research is underpinned by the vision to realise the creative potential of Maori communities and to bring about positive change and transformation in the nation and wider world.


6 thoughts on “New research confirms Maori news is bad news

  1. This is superb research, and a timely reminder of how media representations can have significant implications in society.
    Another area to watch out for – which is even more subversive – is the connection between ethnicity and categories of crime. For example, the term ‘Maori child abuse’ is widely used, which is a fusion of an ethnic group with a type of criminal behaviour. However, when was the last time any news report referred to a type of criminal behavior linked to Pakeha? Have there been news items about ‘Pakeha fraud’, Pakeha tax evasion’, and so on? Obviously not. This labeling of ‘Maori’ followed by a category of crime surely amounts to a discriminatory practice.

  2. Very interesting piece and certainly no surprises there! However to ensure that we were comparing apples to apples I would be interested in knowing whether the tone of the news items on Prime and TV3 was negative generally or a consisted of a mixed approach to the tone? This may give us a better indication of whether the old maxim of “the only good news is bad news” applies as a general rule or in the event of a mixed tone towards news items one could ascert that due to the overall negative protrayal of Maori through newscasting that a hegemonic, racist narrative that excludes and denigrates Maori is promoted.

  3. Tena koutou katoa
    I find it very sad that in this day and age we are still comparing ourselves to Pakeha standards.
    We have to lead the way on who we are and what we stand for. As we have a door open on Te Kaea, Te Karere and TV1, what is to stop us on celebrating our peoples successes.
    Look at our successful people and highlight them on Te Kaea, Te Karere or TV1. Maybe show how they live, what they do, even cooking or enjoying leisure time.
    Talk to our rangatahi and look for positives on what they are doing. How successful are they in school, Uni, work, etc.
    Our people are so handsome and beautiful and lets show how gorgeous they are.
    Our people are overseas and doing so well and we dont see their successes and I know first hand they are successful.
    I live in Brisbane now and have a son who got his degree in international finance, CFA (chartered financial analyst)and studying for his masters in geology today. I am not suggesting you do a story on him but I think you need to look inside and appreciate what we have and only then can we expand.
    If mainstream NZ want to depict us in a unsound cultural light then let us bring on the positives.
    I am proud to be Maori and you guys have the tools to depict your people as loving upstanding and proud people.
    I am 61 and applied to study for my degree in journalism. It was rejected and am applying to study for higher english and then I will reapply.
    Only you guys have the background and the tenancity to push for our people. Stop looking at the past and start celebrating our future. We have our children’s children coming up and we need to make a positive change within ourselves and for once STAND AS ONE AND BE PROUD OF BEING MAORI!!!
    The worst kind of discrimination is self discrimination. The prime example of this is HOMAI TE PAKI PAKI. This show depicted us as dumb backward Maoris. Everytime I saw this show I cringed. This wasnt down to earth Maoris, just our own people making fun of our less educated people. If pakehas did this then it would be racist.
    Breathing, breathing, breathing positive!!!
    Naku noa

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