Getting down with the brown:How are Pacific and Maori youth portrayed by the Media.

Pacific and Maori youth are portrayed as hoodlums and young juveniles by mainstream media. This stereotype is perpetuated when crime stories involving Pacific and Maori youth are sensationalized across television screens, radio talkback shows and print media.

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  1. Bailey Junior Kurariki, New Zealand's youngest convicted killer was 12years old in 2001 when he was convicted of the manslaughter of delivery man Michael Choy in Otara.  This crime made headline news in mainstream media and dominated news media across  televsion, radio talkback, print and social media. The socio economic landscape of Maori and Pacific People was put under the spotlight and took centre stage. 
  2. Ngatai Reweti from South Auckland made headline news when he was convicted of manslaughter in July 2006 and sentenced to just four years in September 2006. Like Bailey Kurariki from South Auckland this crime dominated mainstream media and discussion surrounding Pacific and Maori Youth took centre stage. 
  3. More recently 18 year old teenager from South Auckland, Zhivargo Edward Blake Williams charged with the manslaughter of a friend who died after he was shot with an airgun. Again headline news which dominated mainstream media. Discussions about Pacific and Maori youth offending again takes centre stage.


  4. These horrific crimes committed by these particular Maori youths infiltrated ordinary Kiwi perceptions of Pacific and Maori youth. It overshadowed any good news from South Auckland. The sensationalism of these crimes by mainstream media portrayed a stereotype of Pacific and Maori youth being incapable of contributing positively and effectively to New Zealand society. 
  5. This commercial depicts a Maori youth speaking like a character from the movie "Once were warriors". This only perpetuates the stereotype that Pacific and Maori youth are uneducated juveniles and dress like street kids. Commercials such as this aired on prime time television portrays an inaccurate image of young Maori men. 
  6. Maori and Pacific Peoples are portrayed in advertisements in roles that Pakeha are comfortable with and are shown behaving in a way that conforms to Pakeha stereotypes. Scott states that “the most constant cultural image of New Zealand we get on television is from advertisements." (Green,1990, p. 86)
  7. Advertising is persuasive and often subtly reinforces the stereotypes and prejudices of the dominant group of the society where the advertisement is produced and usually screens. The portrayal of minorities as stereotypes is potentially harmful; as how an individual sees members of their ethnic group portrayed has an influence on how that individual sees themselves. “An individual’s identification with his or her ethnic group is likely to play an 
    important role in how information is processed and how marketing-related decisions are made.(Scott, 1990,p.86).


  8. Positive portrayals of Maori and Pacific Youth dominate Maori and Pacific media. It culminates pride and celebration within their communities, on their radio talkback shows and  television shows so why is it not discussed and celebrated  within mainstream media? Why does it not take centre stage?
  9. Prime Ministers Pacific Youth Award recipients 2011
  10. Sydney waka project helps Maori Youth
  11. Pacific and Maori media outlets such as Tagata Pasifika and Te Karere Maori News feature positive portrayals of Maori and Pacific Youth including the Prime Ministers Pacific Youth Awards. These do not feature in mainstream media. But the bleak academic statistics of Pacific and Maori students in New Zealand schools and morbid obesity in Pacific Island communities does. 
  12. Pacific and Maori Youth are celebrated for their achievements and good works in their respective communities and outlets. It is about time mainstream media portrayed this fact to society to dismantle the negative stereotype. 
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