May 12, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Kiro: Media Stereotyping Of Maori Needs To Change

4 min read

New Zealand needs people who can interpret the evidence from what they read or hear, Associate Professor Cindy Kiro told recent Maori graduates from the Albany campus.

Cindy KiroDr Kiro, a former Children’s Commissioner who now heads the University’s School of Public Health, criticised the way in which some mainstream New Zealand news media portray Maori in her speech to the special ceremony for Maori graduates last week.

“If we were to believe everything we read, we’d think Maori were bad, sad or mad,” she said. “Maori are portrayed in stereotyped ways in the mainstream media.”

She said many in the media created and dwelt upon stereotypes of Maori being unemployed bludgers who smoke and drink too much. Rather than accepting the stereotypical views presented in the media, she encouraged the graduates to “meaningfully filter information and act on solid evidence – this is the reason a good education is so valuable in today’s world”.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Maori and Pasifika) Professor Sir Mason Durie congratulated the graduates their friends and whanau who helped them get to the next step in their academic pathway, making special mention of the two Maori PhDs graduates, Dr Virginia Warriner and Dr Lily George, who are the first of 12 Maori PhDs to graduate during the Massey graduation season over the next six weeks.

He acknowledged the role Waikato University Professor Emeritus Tamati Reedy played in the past quarter century, a period of transformation for Maori. Professor Reedy, a former head of the Maori Affairs Department (now Te Puni Kokiri), was at the ceremony to support his niece Dr Warriner.

Sir Mason said he had made a significant contribution to many areas of development, including education, health, te reo Maori, television and radio. “This year is a good year to graduate,” Sir Mason told graduates. “It is the beginning of a new decade, a new generation. Twenty-five years ago the hui taumata was held. It heralded a new direction for Maori development – our people need new triumphs, the future is in your hands.”

Dr George (Nga Puhi) received heartfelt thanks from many of the other graduates who had been mentored by her in her role as postgraduate advisor to Maori students or tutored by her since she began working at the campus in 1998. She started studying at Massey 1995, attaining a Bachelor of Arts in 2000, followed by an honours degree in 2002 after which she began her PhD research.

Her thesis centres on the history of Awataha Marae in Northcote. “I became part of the Awataha community in 1997. The following year I was asked by one of the kuia to write the history of the marae as a master’s project.” She says she soon realised the “magnitude” of her task, so expanded the project to a PhD. “Awataha is unique in many ways, yet also very much tied to Maori traditions,” she says. “It is a pan-tribal marae, begun on the philosophy of biculturalism with kaupapa Maori as a base.” Chapter four of Dr George’s thesis contains the specific history of Awataha Marae from around 1961, when the North Shore Maori Tribal Committee first started talking about building it, until 2005.

For her doctoral thesis Dr Warriner (Ngati Whtua, Ngati Porou) investigated how Mori business in the creative industries internationalise their products and services. Companies involved in advertising, computers, publishing, broadcasting, film and video, architecture, design, music, performing arts and visual arts were included in the research. She identified 10 themes and, from them selected “uniqueness of a product” as the most important driver for exporting.

Maori tikanga [customs and practices] were also relevant as a driver, she said. “These presented challenges when incorporated with everyday mainstream practices.” She recommended Maori businesses continue creating unique products and to target international niche markets. “Government needs to reassess their support policies and provide initiatives appropriate to micro and small businesses in the creative industries. There is also a need for government export agencies to better understand and market the uniqueness that Maori and their productions offer to the international arena.”

In April and May more than 380 Maori will graduate, almost 30 per cent with postgraduate qualifications. There are more than 3000 Mori students enrolled at Massey, more than 70 in doctoral programmes.

At the Manawatu graduation ceremonies next month, eight Maori will be conferred with PhDs – of special note will be the capping of the University’s first Maori midwife PhD and the first Maori clinical psychologist to obtain the Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree. Later in the month at the Wellington ceremony the last of the 12 Maori PhDs will graduate. Simon Bennett developed and trialled a cognitive behavioural therapy for Maori with depression.

Thanks for Voxy for this cool article:

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