Kupu Taea, an Auckland-based media research group, has published two reports and several resources for media and journalism students about how news media represent te Tiriti and Māori issues. One report from May 2008 covers news from 2007; and one released in 2005 covers news in 2004.
NEW: Challenging and countering anti-Maori discourse: Practices for decolonisation
Keynote speech delivered by Dr Tim McCreanor to the New Zealand Psychological Society Conference on 27 August 2009 in Palmerston North, on behalf of Kupu Taea: Media and te Tiriti Project
Speech to the NZ Psychological Society, August 2009
(whole report, 900Kb PDF - 54 pages; designed to be printed as a double-sided A4 book; page 2 is the inside front cover)
(whole report, 550Kb)
2007 Findings in Summary
￼ Many newspaper stories in our 2007 sample were written from a Pākehā perspective and represented Māori as a source of problems or conflict. They used or did not counter the Māori Privilege theme when it was used by sources. Despite being dismissed as unfounded by the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, this enduring and self-serving Pākehā theme enabled Māori to be viewed as having privileges unfairly denied to Pākehā while also being depicted as poor, sick and a drain on “the taxpayer”.
￼ 2007 Mass TV news programmes (One News, 3 News, Prime News) talk of unity in their coverage of Waitangi Day emphasised a form of New Zealand nationalism that silenced Māori rights and aspirations. When Māori TV news programmes did so, the unity was in diversity, focused on tino rangatiratanga and challenged the Government to honour te Tiriti o Waitangi. Māori language news assumed that the fight for Māori rights and aspirations is a necessity and is not divisive or unjustified; the opposite assumption prevailed on mass news.
￼The terms “radical” and “activist” were overwhelming applied to Māori in newspapers in 2007, and used largely by journalists rather than in quotes. The imbalance in these terms indicates an overall conservative viewpoint on Māori resource issues and a lack of alternative frames for these stories.
￼ Māori focus group members regularly faced hostile reactions at work from Pākehā workmates that were directly related to negative media depictions of Māori and Treaty issues. Members found these patterns to be damaging to Māori health and wellbeing and reinforcing of negative Pākehā perceptions of Māori.
￼ Te Kaea and Te Karere used different frames for stories in 2007, used fewer politicians as sources and a much wider range of Maori sources than mass TV news. Maori programmes allowed sources to speak for longer, and used a less confrontational approach even though their stories had the same proportion about conflict. Overall, they demonstrated the monocultural nature of the news values which mass TV news programmes have long stated to be universal.
￼ Newspapers used more Government sources (31%) than iwi (23%) in 2007; mass TV news programmes relied even more heavily on Government sources and used only a small proportion of iwi sources, while the opposite was true of Te Kaea and Te Karere.
￼Newspapers quoted twice as many Māori men as women and three or more times as many Pākehā men as women in 2007 and 2004. In 2007, mass TV news used more than three times as many male as female sources in 2007, compared to Māori programmes, where women made up nearly half the sources. This indicates a possible greater role for women as spokespeople in the Māori world compared to the Pākehā one.
Mass media items continued to provide little or no background explanation or context about the Treaty or Māori issues in 2007.
￼The proportion of newspaper Māori stories using words of te reo and the average number of Māori words per item (two) in 2007 was the same as in our 2004 sample, a clear indicator of its low priority.
￼Journalists aspire to be a watchdog for all citizens and sceptical about everything, particularly the statements of the powerful. However, our representative samples in 2004 and 2007 indicated that the mass media acts as a watchdog for Pākehā interests and is rarely sceptical of Pākehā initiatives that breach the Treaty. Instead, it is sceptical of Treaty-based initiatives or points of view.