Mass media in Aotearoa: an obstacle to cultural competence



Psychologists are required to understand themselves as culture bearers, recognise historical, social and political influences on health, and be open to the cultural world of clients. In New Zealand, media representations of Maori and minority ethnic groups are inescapable, and provide most of what we ‘know’ about people different from ourselves. News media present Pakeha values, beliefs and practices as ‘how things are done’, making it harder for Pakeha psychologists to recognise their culture. The article suggests that psychologists treat Pākehā as one ethnic group among many, and identify Pākehā spokespeople and priorities in the same way as Maori spokespeople. It also encourages all people to read news media critically by asking who is missing, and whose interests are served by telling stories in these ways; and by reading, watching and listening to indigenous and minority community media.