Theme 1: Pākehā as the norm

The news media are not neutral or objective. Studies show that the news repeats and reinforces negative themes about Māori that date from the earliest days of colonisation.

There are no themes in the news about Pākehā as a group because Pākehā are portrayed as if they are the nation. They are shown as the norm or default - the natural, ordinary community against which all other ethnic groups are measured. As a result the media hardly ever refer to or identify Pākehā by ethnicity.

How this is being said in the news
Pākehā as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, the public, taxpayers, New Zealanders, Kiwis, the nation, Pacific’s triple star; Māori as ‘they’ or ‘them’.
  • One News, Our News’.
  • They’re not rugby heroes, not gang members. They’re the fast growing Maori middle class. Prepare to adjust your stereotypes’ North & South cover, June 2008.
  • The tino rangatiratanga flag referred to as ‘their’ flag, One News, February-March, 2007.
  • ‘Hone Harawira and the Maori party: what have we got to fear?’ Metro cover, November 2004.
Other ways to talk about this
  • Acknowledge Pākehā ethnicity when there is a vested interest or criminal behaviour (‘Pākehā MPs’, ‘police are seeking a Pākehā man’)
  • Pākehā are one cultural group among many in Aotearoa.
  • Pākehā benefit from being defined as the norm.
Download all 14 themes in a booklet (landscape A4 pages)