‘Media surveillance of the natives’: A New Zealand case study – Lake Taupo air space



A 2005 news story claiming that Ngāti Tuwharetoa was going to exploit its rights to airspace above Lake Taupo appeared as the iwi was entering a new round of settlement negotiations. The story, as published in eight newspapers and five TV news bulletins, represented the iwi as an immediate threat to the ability of ‘New Zealanders’ to enjoy the lake. Headlines that said ‘Māori’ or a ‘tribe’ was demanding money for air rights, represented all Māori as threatening. The stories provided no basis for the claim, and said the iwi already benefited from existing licence fees. The outcome of the negotiations, in 2007, was reported in neutral terms, like any negotiation between the government and a large business. However, such corporations would be unlikely to tolerate this kind of unsubstantiated and scaremongering story.