The news media are not neutral or objective. Research shows that the news repeats and reinforces negative themes about Māori that date from the earliest days of colonisation.
These negative themes present Māori interests and what Māori do as problems, or as being on the margins. They also help make Pākehā control over institutions, resources, society and culture seem right and natural.
The first three themes - Pākehā as the norm, ‘One People’ and ‘Rights’ - arose originally from struggles in Europe in the 1700s and 1800s. Together these themes represent New Zealand as a modern, liberal, social democracy to New Zealanders, while also closing off alternative ways of looking at our society. Ten of the 11 remaining themes represent Maori as a problem in some way.
These web pages describe these themes, and give other ways of talking about these topics. They list words and phrases that suggest the theme; examples of how news media use it; assumptions behind the theme; the effects it has; and other ways of thinking about the issue.
We welcome your feedback!
Submit your own examples of anti-Māori themes and suggest your alternatives. These suggestions will moderated and uploaded to the site.
Download all 14 themes in a booklet (landscape A4 pages)