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Tēna kōutou te iwi o Te Whare Wanaga o Wikitoria. Now that I have got your attention, let me just elaborate on what exactly the media are trying to convey here. Media are the ones who go in for the one dimensional perspective labelling te iwi Māori as all sorts: thieves, child beaters, spongers, 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 defining 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 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?
Media, including newspapers, internet websites and even the news, have publicised these degrading characteristics of us as not being 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 “New Zealanders”. Why are these identities separated? When they see it’s beneficial for them.
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 who have been 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”