This is a headline I never thought I would see.
This morning Stuff has apologised for decades of racist reporting, and has in its own words “grappled with the truth that our journalism has often unfairly portrayed Maori, ranging from racist to blinkered”.
In a stinging editorial it says this:
Without a doubt, our journalism has impacted on New Zealand’s history, and helped maintain democracy. The value of the independent journalism we’ve created over that time is tangible. But not beyond reproach.
Kāore e kore kua whai pānga ā mātou mahi pāpāho ki te hītori o Aotearoa, me te whakanohotanga o te manapori. I roto i tērā wā kua puta te hua o te uara o te pāpāho motuhake i hangaia rā e mātou. Heoi kei konā anō ngā kohete.
There’s a well-worn and age-old journalists’ adage: we hold the powerful to account. But when Stuff now values trust as its primary measure of success and has introduced the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi into its company charter, we needed to ensure our own backyard was in order first, to hold ourselves to account, too.
Arā tonu te kīwaha o te ao pāpāho: ko mātou te kaipātari o te hunga mananui. Engari kia uaratia e Stuff ināianei ko te mahi pono hei paearu matua mō ōna angitūtanga, ā, kua whakanōhia ngā mātāpono o te Tiriti o Waitangi ki te tūtohinga o te kamupene, e tika ana kia tahia tuatahitia e mātou tō mātou ake marae; kia tika ai anō hoki mātou.
Stuff has clearly been doing a lot of soul searching. And its conclusion on its performance is pretty brutal:
Our coverage of Māori issues over the past 160 years ranged from racist to blinkered. Seldom was it fair or balanced in terms of representing Māori.
I roto i te 160 tau o te pāho i ngā take Māori, ka kitea he kaikiri, he kāpō rānei. Itiiti noa te wāhi whai tika, whai tauritenga rānei, mō te whakaatu i ngā take Māori.
The editorial then reflects that reporting of important issues has almost inevitably reflected exclusively Pakeha views and the diversity of views in our country has been ignored.
I’m sorry for that. Sorry to Māori. The monocultural aspects of our journalism have not served Aotearoa New Zealand well.
E whakapāha ana ahau ki tēnā. E whakapāha ana ki te Māori. Kāore he paku painga o ā mātou pāpāho tirohanga iwi kotahi mō te oranga whānui o Aotearoa.
Well done Stuff. It is interesting what ownership by a collective can do.
And this news gives me greater confidence that we are finally adopting bi-culturalism as a healthy norm and respecting Te Ao Māori as a legitimate and dare I say it preferred view.
It seems to have happened quickly. As an example four years former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd, a self confessed recovering racist, was pilloried for his views. Four years ago I wrote this:
He admits to initially being disinterested in the issue of Māori representation but had a road to Damascus type conversion early on in his term. He spearheaded the creation of a Māori seat on the New Plymouth District Council. The move was controversial and one Councillor, John McLeod, was that incensed at the thought of representation for Iwi he resigned immediately the vote creating the seat was passed.
A subsequent petition overturned this decision and the vote was heavily against with 83% of those who cast votes refusing to agree to Iwi representation.
Seven Sharp had this very nuanced sympathetic representation of Judd’s position. In it he describes how his views were changed radically and he describes himself in the video as a “recovering racist”.
Before becoming Mayor he had never been on a Marae. But after election and with increasing exposure to Maori culture his views changed. He states that reading the book Healing our History by Robert and Josephine Consedine changed his views on representation. He thought that representation on the Council should mimic the Treaty of Waitangi and be equal but settled for the more achievable goal of having some Iwi representation.
For his efforts Judd was abused publicly and given the cold shoulder by other representatives. This has led him to decide to get out of politics.
Fast forward to today and there is a growing move to introducing Maori wards in local government and the fevered racist response from some is dying off. Even Tauranga Council, hardly a hotbed of liberal activism, has introduced Maori wards. And the voices of those opposed are shrill and no longer reflective of mainstream thinking.
Respect for the treaty is now increasing and becoming engrained in public discourse. There is increasing use of Te Reo and respect for Te Ao Maori. As kiwis all of us, even Ngati pakeha realise that this is what makes us distinct as a nation and that it forms a fundamental central core of our identity.
Congratulations to Stuff. They speak, in general terms, for all of us when they say:
The distance left to travel on our journey includes ensuring our journalism is for all New Zealanders and trying to repair our relationship with Māori. That will take time and effort, and from time to time we might stumble.
Kei te roanga o te huarahi ki mua ka whakaū mātou i ā mātou mahi pāpāho mō te katoa o Aotearoa ka tahi, ko te whakatika hoki i te tūhononga ki te iwi Māori ka rua. Mā te wā e kitea ai tōna pēheatanga, ā, he wā anō hoki e tutuki ai pea te waewae.