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Tēna kōutou te iwi o Te Whare Wananga o Wikitoria. Now that I have your attention… let me just elaborate on what exactly the media are trying to convey here. Media are those who go in for the one-dimensional perspective labelling te iwi Māori as all sorts: thieves, child beaters, WINZ spongers and/or druggies. You name it, the media have depicted this message everywhere in society. This has become a shadow on our Māori nation that not only shows one part of our culture but now defines us as a people. This is not only an overcast, but a rainfall on Māori who want to build a better and brighter future for our people. These stereotypes have now been ingrained into our ‘apparent’ identity and how people perceive us. Stereotypes are the absolute worst. Don’t you just hate it when you walk into a shop and all the staff are watching you like a hawk, all because they saw on the news how high Māori rank in thievery? It makes me grunt every week when I turn the TV on to Police Ten 7 and without fail, there will be a ‘brown face’ that shows up stating their ethnicity as Māori.
Media, including newspapers, websites and even the 6 o’clock news, have publicised these degrading characteristics of us not as New Zealanders but as Māori. Yet when Māori appear on national and international news for being recognised in their community, they all of a sudden become a “New Zealander”. Why are these identities separated? When they see it as beneficial for them? And have you noticed that when Māori are described in the media for their negative behaviours, all of a sudden their Māori middle name is added? Maybe to subtly let the audience know what they are dealing with.
Being Māori should never be something that is covered by ignorance, hurt and embarrassment. It’s our Māoritanga that keep us grounded and that will keep us striving for the future.
This isn’t all we are as a people; we the whakatipuranga o apōpō need to show the media, Aotearoa, and most importantly ourselves that the taonga of our tipuna, which they have passed down, has still been upheld to the best of our abilities.
“E kore au e ngaro, he kakano I ruia mai I Rangiātea”
“I will never be lost, for I am a seed sown in Rangiātea”