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Stuff apologises for decades of racist reporting

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, November 30th, 2020 - 123 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Maori Issues, Maori seats, Media, uncategorized - Tags:

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.

123 comments on “Stuff apologises for decades of racist reporting ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Stunning! Enormously up-lifting. Hugely encouraging. Tumeke, Stuff!

    • Patricia Bremner 1.1

      Yes I agree Robert, and may give other publications pause.
      Words are important and have been weaponised.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    I am not sure if that is wise thing to do. What are they trying to achieve? Virtue signaling? Trying to pinch the audience from the spinoff? They upside of such a front page will be limited to the twiteratti and I am sure Andrea Vance will squirm in delight, and I guess they'll get to be smug and condescending and to (try) and weaponise anti-racism to attack enemies of the liberal establishment, AKA "anti-semitism" smears against the Corbynite project in the UK.

    The downside is they've set themselves up as a partisan player in the political life of the country just when the idea that there is an "extreme centre" made up of the liberal middle class establishment & political-media complex is gaining more and more currency everywhere in the Anglosphere.

    If you you want to so something about your systemic racism then get on and do it, don't virtue signal your ambient biases may have changed.

    • Tricledrown 2.1

      Vance is the daughter of a former National MP. National need to change its attitude towards Maori from being the modern day colonial oppressor.

      • Sanctuary 2.1.1

        Well I don't think that it is a bad thing they've done per se, but after seeing what happened to Corbyn I am deeply skeptical that any publication that is essentially a cheerleader for the neoliberal political class can be anything other than fashionably woke in it's anti-racism.

        • AB

          Neatly put as always, Sanctuary. The test for Stuff will come when a Maori perspective cuts across, or is contrary to, the logic of markets and wealth accumulation by atomised, 'free' individuals. Then their new-found awareness of things Maori may fall into a bit of a hole.

        • Shanreagh

          If you you want to so something about your systemic racism then get on and do it, don't virtue signal your ambient biases may have changed

          I also agree with this in your earlier post.

          There is a little saying about 'being the change you hope to see'. I think it is a good thing that Stuff has become aware of the disservice it has done to Maori, and to the rest of NZ by not reporting accurately and fairly on Maori issues, but would preferred that they modelled the way they were going to be then told us about it, if we had not noticed!

          Stuff is not in the league of the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal with its measured research based and beautifully written accounts of wrongs and what can be done to right them.

          I am all for weeding out systemic racism but so far we have not seen the evidence. A way would be start this now, today rather than highlighting past less than stellar performance with a million mea culpas.

          Being the change you hope to see today and tomorrow is far harder in practice than going back in time to examine cases that many would agree would not meet the standards of today's reporting.

          A commitment to do better in the reporting of Maori issues is gratefully received though.

      • Sacha 2.1.2

        You may be confusing Vance with Audrey Young.

      • Chris T 2.1.3

        "Vance is the daughter of a former National MP."


        Didn't know that. Which one?

      • SPC 2.1.4

        She was born in Northern Ireland and worked at The News of the World (The Sun's bstard) and then married a Kiwi she met in Scotland.

    • Robert Guyton 2.2

      If you you want to so something about your systemic racism then get on and do it, don't talk about it out loud.
      (Italics mine)

      Such a realisation and change is BIG NEWS and thats what they do!

      • Sanctuary 2.2.1

        I guess it is just a case of tickle me cynical about establishment revelations on systemic racism, given the intersectionality of class and race.

        • Robert Guyton

          Yes, and yet they've acted very boldly here. I wonder what reactions from rank-and-file tangata whenua are?

    • Sacha 2.3

      What are they trying to achieve?

      Living with themselves, for one thing. Colonial racism shapes their whole job, regardless of any party political responses to it.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.4

      +1, Nice response Sanctuary…even that half arsed aimless battering ram talking head on RNZ's morning report, Susie Ferguson, managed to corner and embarrass Stuff's Carmen Parahi….it was so easy it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

      It's interesting and I guess kind of amusing watching the defenders and advocates of this failing Free Market Liberal projec, both the media and the politicians themselves become more and more blatantly overt in their virtue signaling (Arden being one of the worst offenders) while the fire rages around them.

      On a different note, it's great to see Corbyn finally fighting back against the Liberal wing of the UK Labour party, and it seems he has quite a bit of support on the ground.

      The ideological battle continues…..

      Turn Labour Left!

      • Robert Guyton 2.4.2

        "Susie Ferguson, managed to corner and embarrass Stuff's Carmen Parahi"

        Only because Parahi hadn't read the particular story and couldn't comment on it.

        "Shooting fish in a barrel" is very wide of the mark.

        • Adrian Thornton

          Good ol' Robert Guyton staunch defender of the (liberal/green) middle classes and (liberal/green) boomer generation…of course virtue signalling is right up your ally, that would be why you like James Shaw so much…all talk and no change unless it's within the paradigm of the tickle down, incrementalist liberal ideology you all seem so enamoured with…well I have news for you my friend, your Green liberal free market ideology will never save this planet from climate change…..that is just a plain fact.

          • arkie

            Labour are more wedded to the liberal middle class than the Greens are. You'll never turn Labour left without pressure from the Greens. And I have news for you, the Labour party also will not save this planet from climate change either… that's already evident.

            • Adrian Thornton

              "Labour are more wedded to the liberal middle class than the Greens are"…that could well be true, however they are tied at the hip to Labour and the only party that gets pressured in that relationship is the Greens who have proved themselves to be pretty incompetent political players, unfortunately for us all.

              I do agree with your statement.."the Labour party also will not save this planet from climate change either… that's already evident."

              • arkie

                The Greens remain the pressured because people keep voting Labour to 'turn it left'. Labour has been wed to third-way neoliberalism for 35 years, they will not change while they continue to receive votes from lefties who think Labour will change. The Greens are far more left than labour on every issue, if you, as a voter, want a lefter government it will need a smaller Labour and a larger Green party, then the pressure is reversed.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Yeah I kind of agree with you and do vote actually Green, but I have to say the Green party really pinned it's colours to mast when they elected the most centrist liberal option they had in Shaw….although I suppose he is a perfect fit for the current Labour/Green thing, both as about as useless as each other at this point.

                  • arkie

                    I see Shaw's liberalism being balanced by the rest of the MPs.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    The climate change emergency declaration will be made this coming Thursday and Shaw promises "concrete action" to follow. You don't trust him to keep his word?

          • Robert Guyton

            "tickle down" sounds like a sleeping bag brand for children – I like it!

            Ohh, you do love those labels, Adrian – I fear you'd be lost without them!

            You say the, "liberal free market ideology will never save this planet from climate change" and I agree entirely.

            You say, "all talk and no change unless it's within the paradigm of the tickle down, incrementalist liberal ideology" is something I'm enamoured with, but you are quite wrong to think that: my hoped-for changes are far beyond anything the Greens have ever expressed (perhaps Jeanette Fitzsimons in her "Deep Green" writings approached what I'm working toward.

            It's interesting to be so misconstrued but hei aha!

            For me, at this point, I'll support anyone moving in the direction that's closest to mine, however far away that track might be. It's either that or don't support any political party. Or start one of my own: I floated the idea of a “Garden Party” some years ago, but the idea was commandeered and buried under a pile of inaction. But there’s still time…

        • Molly

          " Only because Parahi hadn't read the particular story and couldn't comment on it."

          That's disconcerting. Surely, if the intent of the article was to report a decision made and a framework for moving forward, the discussions would have taken place – with the knowledge of and input from – current authors included.

          I would have thought a considered article would have followed the final copy being distributed and commented on before being published.

          • Robert Guyton

            Yes, but I expect they've been very busy preparing themselves for the expected outrage. Parahi might have been well advised to have read everything that could be cited in protest, but she's not a politician from whom we'd expect complete preparation.

            • Phillip ure

              I think you are both being a bit harsh on parahi…the story she hadn't read so couldn't comment on ..wasn't the one she was being interviewed about…that was a different/other story..

          • Rosemary McDonald

            I think it was this article …https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/123491058/somebodys-lying-anatomy-of-an-oranga-tamariki-uplift … that Carmen Parahi hadn't read. Suzie tried to weave that piece (about a Samoan family) into the Stuff apology to Maori as an indicator that the apology to Maori was mere posturing.

            Unfortunately Parahi was ill prepared for the interview…seemed conflicted as to whether she was commenting as a Stuff journalist or as a Maori. Or as a Maori journalist.

    • Patricia Bremner 2.5

      Recognition is part of change.

    • Duncan 2.6

      "The downside is they've set themselves up as a partisan player in the political life of the country just when the idea that there is an "extreme centre" made up of the liberal middle class establishment & political-media complex is gaining more and more currency everywhere in the Anglosphere."

      What you call partisan I would call niche. Why should all MSM pander towards that middle ground; in today's world if you want to succeed in online ventures then you occupy a niche.

      Most MSM are competing against each other for the middle ground, the Herald notably right of that, and that makes them all doomed to fail.
      I think from a commercial viewpoint, never mind the ethical viewpoint, it was a strategic masterpiece.

      And even if they do fail as a consequence, what a relief failing doing something you believed in, rather than being a lackey of the neoliberal right corporates.
      What do they have to lose. $1
      Good on them.

      Just as an aside from when I wrote that last point, if assets (like Stuff) are valued at realistic values, there are so many more options available.
      This is one of the issues created by exorbitant property prices and over inflated assets such as dairy farms. You are locked into a system that gives no freedom to entrepreneurs to try something different.

    • SPC 2.7

      I guess they'll get to be smug and condescending and to (try) and weaponise anti-racism to attack enemies of the liberal establishment, AKA "anti-semitism" smears against the Corbynite project in the UK.

      Sure it could go in the direction of multi-cultural regime over the political corpse of white race nationalists (Don Brash's National Party).

      But a committment to fair reporting as a post corporate media, citing the case of Maori, is not in itself cause for concern.

      We'll see how they handle the issue of the proposed Hate Speech Law legislation and the matter of historic middle class bias against unions and workers.

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    Most importantly, Stuff aims to embrace Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

    This is the key issue for me. It reflects the actions of Ngai Tahu .v. The Crown presently before the courts – a re-focus on honouring the Treaty.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    And this:

    "ANZSOG will host a unique virtual conference in 2021 exploring how public services need to rethink the way they relate with Indigenous communities and examine how successful partnerships have evolved and the positive results they have delivered for communities, particularly during COVID-19.

    The past 12 months have been difficult for all of us and while many partnerships between Indigenous communities and governments have been challenged, genuine partnerships built on foundations of trust and respect have not only survived but been agile, innovative and even strengthened."


  5. Tricledrown 5

    This is a massive leap forward now we need to get stuck in and address the consequences of systematic racism.

    Systematic poverty is the result of 170 yrs of placating ,bullying ,trying to assimilate Maori into being the subservient partner.Labour needs to front up big time promises need to be met now not in small platitudes but real action housing,an education system that caters to polynesian culture. Health care that is accessible to Maori.

    Lack of progress is holding the whole country back if Maori had the same standard of living European have we would be one of the richest Nations on earth.

    The economic benefits would be beneficial for all New Zealanders as there would be far more money in the economy.

    Hopefully this creates a mindset change across the country and across political lines.

    There will no doubt a backlash by the Don Brash types.

    This needs to happen now while Labour have the support of just about all Maori.

  6. xanthe 6

    I have some serious misgivings . Not that I disagree with apologising for past abuse

    My concern is that there is structural racism and then there is simple misconduct

    Structural racism now seems to cover a lot of what to me is misconduct and it should not!

    What I really really want to see from Stuff is an editorial code of conduct! This looks like a sidestep to me.

  7. tc 7

    Good to see the media having a moment over their performance.

    Across the ditch they're under the spotlight for letting polly's lie all the time, in particular scotty from marketing. Zero challenging from the 4th estate.

    Not fair dinkum cobah.

  8. alwyn 8

    Oh dear.

    The stories in the DomPost, at least those that are shown on the Stuff website, remind me of the show trials that occurred in the 1930's in Stalin's USSR.

    Stick your defendants up in the dock and require them to confess to "crimes" that they never committed. Then execute them. The only thing missing here is the execution although they may feel as if it happens when Stuff finally goes broke and they are out of their jobs.

  9. greywarshark 9

    This sounds interesting – I haven't read it myself yet but it fits in this post about media:


    People are used to getting news from public broadcasters paid for by taxpayers – or as a customer of commercial media organisations. But is news as a social enterprise an idea whose time has come? South Island online outfit Crux now wants its local audience to take ownership.

    Will this just get the usual suspects whose letters I have read for decades, dominating the letters page and now showing up in Opinion pieces? Those with a personal view that everyone else is undeserving or incapable, and they alone can show The Way? Such people don't look at matters from a wide perspective, and just getting a lot of input from people with minds closed to examination of matters practical or doesn't add much of value to the discourse.

    What media in NZ needs is to be like a concertina, opening up to take in information and views from a wide range. Then people can narrow these than down looking at what has been encompassed, discussing it, and finding practical ideas that meet people's needs and also our impressionable mind driving our thoughts. Other ideas can be noted for later consideration, but not just rejected because they don't suit the present incumbents of whatever entity is in charge.

  10. Robert Guyton 10

    Designer and artist Johnston Witehira, who drew the front-page graphic of a hei tiki being wrenched from an ensnarement of racist texts used by Stuff over time, says,

    “..I am worried about how, globally, the news media is trending towards polarisation. We need to develop our own culturally-affirming and inclusive approaches toward representation".

    Tautoko that man.

  11. RedLogix 11

    With roughly 1 in 5 Maori now living in Australia, it's impossible to ignore the implications of this. The most detailed research I could find is dated 2013 but should still be broadly relevant. The conclusions relating to income on p13 state:

    The median income for NZ-born Māori men of $54,964 was only slightly lower than for the total Australia male population ($57,301) but significantly below the median income for NZ-born nonMāori ($63,148). The difference is likely to a number of factors including differences in qualification and skills level and occupational structure. For Māori women, income differences were much smaller compared to the comparator groups.

    In three of the top five Māori occupations, Māori migrants earned higher incomes than the average Australian worker and similar incomes to NZ-born non-Māori. However, in the higherskilled jobs that dominate Australia’s occupational structure, Māori (both migrants and Australian-born) earned less than the average Australian worker and New Zealand-born nonMāori.

    So when you account for differing levels of educational attainment, it seems that when Maori migrate to what many people here regard as the most racist hell hole on earth (ie Australia) they seem to do just fine in terms of work and income. How curious is this?

    • Robert Guyton 11.1

      More jobs available and a network of mates to help them find them?

    • McFlock 11.2

      Before you start spouting off what you think the "implications" might be, possibly consider why people migrate (and whether individual employment factors lead to a selection bias), and whether a racist society has a hierachy or stratification of bigotry.

    • WeTheBleeple 11.3

      Here's a personal anecdote of some Ozzy racism.

      Queensland Red. 1997.

      She drew her arm back and backhanded a worker across the face. "Work faster" she bellowed at the girl, now crouched and cowed beside the basket of tomatoes she'd picked. "Ya bloody useless chink!"

      We were half an hour West of Bundaberg working on some redneck's farm. A busload of backpackers who were largely indentured labour via easy bar credit. The set-up was simple. The Hostel's manager had our passports as surety and got our earnings directly off the farmers he shipped us out to. He took out taxes, rent, his store tab, his bar tab, his transport – and we got the rest. The rest was never enough not to need to run up a new tab by the next week, and on it went. I'd worked on various crops for a couple of weeks, but this was the first Queensland farmer I'd met.

      She was a pasty blotched Irish-red woman towering above six feet, her face was a rictus of menace. She drew her arm back as if to strike again. "You can't beat your workers" I yelled and moved up the row. "That's illegal, stop it". She eyed me up and moved forward as if to strike me. I stood my ground. "It doesn't matter even if she is working slow, we're on contract rates". "If you don't fuckin' like it, you can talk to him" She raised her voice; half at me, half over her shoulder. I looked up as a man appeared between the end of the rows and started moving toward us. He was a caricature of an Aussie, all sunburn and shorts. Black singlet, slouch hat, and a double-barreled shotgun resting easily across his shoulder. "You got a problem with my wife ya better fuck off" he said. "Or I'll shoot ya and leave ya in a ditch".

      I turned to the girl and her friend. "Do you want to come with me? We can hitchhike or wait for the bus by the road." They didn't respond. "Stupid bloody chinks can't even speak English" say's the lady. "You better fuck off, now" says the man. It was time to go. "I could call the Police?" I said. "No police, no police" the friend said shaking her head. "The Police don't fuckin' care about chinks" the man said and pointed his gun at me. I walked through the fields with the farmer silently following. "Don't fuckin' come back" he swore at me as I passed the gate.

      I walked out to the main road. I was sweating by the time I got there so I stood in the shade of some gum trees to hitch. After time I began to cool off and looked down to note a large red ant had appeared on the gravel. Time spent in the relative safety of the NZ bush had made me complacent to the wildlife of Australia and so I stood, mesmerised as I noted more and more of these ants around me. A car pulled over and I moved to look in the window.

      He was an aboriginal bloke. "I'm off to the pub in Bundy" he said "Jump in". "Good idea, so am I" I replied as I grabbed the door. He smiled as we pulled out into the road. "I just saw all these massive ants back there, I held out two fingers to indicate the size". "What, bull ants?" He looked startled then looked me up and down. I gaped, still not comprehending. He smiled again. "Stupid bloody kiwi", then he roared with laughter. "You'll get yourself killed."

      • RedLogix 11.3.1

        Yes. That is personal racist misconduct of the type that can be found anywhere on earth. It's increasingly marginalised behaviour in the developed world; and what may they may have gotten away with in 1997 is much less likely 23 years later in the world of instant video and social media.

        To implicitly extend that one incident to cover an entire country is however another form of bigotry. And besides it’s not only irrelevant, but contradicted by the data I presented.

        • WeTheBleeple

          Actually, it's a damn good yarn and piece of history.

          "Another form of bigotry". Sheesh, get off your high horse.

          • RedLogix

            It's a powerful yarn alright and I've no reason to doubt it. The point is that for every Aussie redneck there are many others who aren't. If you don't think this is true then all I can say is that you mingle in bad company.

            But the point is that the incident you describe is not only blatantly illegal (even when it happened), but if it hit the media these days it would be roundly condemned and have serious consequences. So invoking it as a primary explanation for anything these days seems pretty weak.

            • WeTheBleeple

              You are so full of it.

              I said 'Here's a personal anecdote'

              You said 'to implicitly extend that one incident'

              & now 'invoking it as a primary explanation'

              Utterly full of it.

              That woman beating her worker looked just like Pauline Hanson – who's still around. She's right at home in Queensland. Plenty more where that came from. The politics and the people voting for it have not moved.

              That aboriginal who picked me up told me of mobs in northern territories, working in exchange for being allowed to live on the land (their own lands), food (flour, sugar, salt, lard) and barrels of methylated spirits – for them to drink. Keep them pissed and useless and trot them out for a press hate fest when required.

              At the pub in Bundaberg he told me to go drink with the whites as they'd get offended and single me out. You could go say hello, spend a minute or two, but then you drank with your own kind.

              They were way more racist, on average, than anything I'd seen in NZ, and I've seen some shit.

              • RedLogix

                OK so it's either a 'personal anecdote' relating to that particular time and place, or it's an important narrative that underpins your final sentence. Which is it?

                Because I could relate recent personal conversations with a community nurse who routinely works in the remote communities in the far north. Without telling us anything she shouldn't, it's clear that it's not work she can tolerate for more than a few months at a time; it's just too damn confronting on a daily basis. (And this is a person who has considerable courage and capacity when faced with hardship, risk and discomfort.)

                The point is that you saw one particular slice of what is a very complex and difficult story.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  Oh please, stop trying to make shit up about my intention now I've had further to say. It was an anecdote and somehow you decided I was being racist. Really. Tedious.

                  My sister just got back from years of nursing placements all over the outback. She brought back some racism she's not even aware she has. It's complex alright, especially all the racists who think racism doesn't exist.

                  Are they still racist? Heaven forbid. Blowing up Juukan Gorge, a 46 000 year old site… oopsies. Sacred direction tree? No worries bro, we got GPS now aye.

                  • RedLogix

                    Blowing up Juukan Gorge, a 46 000 year old site… oopsies.

                    Yet I personally witnessed the same company behaving in a completely different fashion on another site, more or less at the same time. There is always more to a story than the curated version we get in the media.

                    Nonetheless, and here is the crunch, the company was widely censured for it's failure in that instance, and went on to dismiss the senior management who made the mistake. It's kind of tough to argue this as evidence of intractable racism; quite the opposite really.

                    As for the direction tree issue, again it's not for me to jump to conclusions, but if you read the whole story it's clear someone isn't playing with a straight bat.

                    As for your intentions, well the classic definition of racism is attributing the behaviour of individuals to the general character of everyone with the same ethnicity.

                    • McFlock

                      Because "Australian" is a single ethnicity?

                      Australia is a racist country. So is New Zealand.

                      #notAllAussies doesn't change that, any more than the apology of a single news outlet means racism in NZ has ended.

                    • RedLogix

                      Australia is a racist country. So is New Zealand.

                      Compared to what?

                    • McFlock

                      Another nation or person being more racist doesn't mean the nation or person under discussion is not racist, does it?

                    • RedLogix

                      If nations do make progress toward reducing racism, which is demonstrably true over the past century, then yelling at them even louder that they're still innately guilty, and offering no means of redemption, seems likely to provoke all the wrong responses, undermining the necessary goodwill on which all progress is based.

                      Unlike many people here I would like for skin colour and ethnicity to become gradually less important over time … not more. MLK's vision of a 'colour blind' society was never meant to be read literally, it was instead about an attitude of mind that was willing to look past material differences to the true unity of spirit that animates all human beings.

                    • McFlock

                      MLK would also call a racist a racist.

                    • RedLogix

                      I'm sure he would, but how is that relevant here?

                    • McFlock

                      I mean, just to spell it out for you, he didn't seem overly concerned about provoking "all the wrong responses, undermining the necessary goodwill on which all progress is based".

                    • RedLogix

                      Like Ghandi and Mandela, King was quite willing to confront and dramatise in order to gain the necessary attention, but once they had it they used it to appeal to everyone's sense that a better world was possible.

                      They knew the limits of confrontation.

                    • McFlock

                      Just to clarify, is your current point that we shouldn't call Australia "racist" because some of the racists might double-down on their racism after doing so well at being slightly less racist than they previously were?

                      Or are you just bringing three different human rights movements into the fray because you genuinely think each of their main leaders wanted people to ease up on the slightly-less-racists in case they had the "wrong response" to still being called racist?

                    • RedLogix

                      Just to clarify, you refuse to acknowledge any real progress in racism over the past century in order that you can justify a perpetual grievance machine whose avowed purpose is a marxist revolution?

                      (See I can do pointless escalation of confrontation too … see where it leads?)

                    • McFlock

                      Dude, I'm just trying to figure out why you think "Australia is a racist country" is a particularly controversial statement. Apparently it's because MLK didn't call racists racists, or something something something Mandela.

                      Sure, they don't legally allow farmers to have chained slaves like they did in the 1940s, and in the 1960s they even legally recognised Aborigines as human, but that's a pretty fucking low bar.

                    • RedLogix

                      And I'm trying to figure out why you keep pretending nothing has happened in the past few hundred years. Because until you can acknowledge that, you have no basis on which to progress. Really quite post-modern of you I guess …

                      Also the history of Aboriginal voting rights is a lot more complex than your fabricated little guilt trip.

                    • McFlock

                      All very interesting, but it's still consistent with Australia currently being a racist country. And yes, so is NZ for that matter. Points you only addressed by suggesting that saying it's so might upset the racists.

                    • RedLogix

                      Nah, all your argument amounts to is 'disagreeing with the cult doctrine makes you a racist'. It's an abusive gaslighting tactic.

                    • McFlock

                      Or, like, keeping the 'n-word stadium' for so long is a subtle indication that maybe Australia still has a ways to go. But apparently saying that will just provoke the "wrong response".

          • greywarshark

            Red Logix It seems you are deep in denial. Confronted by the reality of the present you waffle with concepts and historic overviews.

            It is like you are giving a guided tour mouthing official platitudes to visitors. Nothing can disturb your mealy-mouthed presentation. I fear that our Treasury personnel have a similar mindset which would explain why we cannot make way in improving the way this country is run, and the way that we the citizens and inhabitants continue to co-exist with the wretched state of this country's private and SME business wellbeing and lack of wise, responsible action and hope for the future.

            • RedLogix

              Confronted by the reality of the present you waffle with concepts and historic overviews.

              I presented a link to a detailed research paper on the point I was making. So far all the responses have been waffle, including yours.

              As for history, those who forget it are condemned to repeat it.

              • McFlock

                Not if the point you were making was supposed to be relevant to the general issue of racism in Australia.

                They've only just gotten around to renaming the damned cheese.

                But #notallAussies. Just not enough to change the name 20 years ago (or the name of the stadium, for that matter).

                • RedLogix

                  Not if the point you were making was supposed to be relevant to the general issue of racism in Australia.

                  No that was what you projected onto it. My point is this; that assigning one singular cause to all the complex reasons why outcomes can be different is the hallmark of the lazy ideologue.

                  The hot fashion of the moment is to plonk the word 'systemic' in front of anything and it immediately becomes a powerful totem that can be invoked to explain everything, and especially to induce white guilt.

                  Yet when you try pinning it down to concrete cause and effect, it has a tricky way of slipping through your fingers.

                  • McFlock

                    My point is this; that assigning one singular cause to all the complex reasons why outcomes can be different is the hallmark of the lazy ideologue.

                    Oh, maybe you could have mentioned that in your comment.

                    Anyhoo, where did anyone in the post or thread do that?

      • Robert Guyton 11.3.2


        Please don't come to New Zealand!

        • RedLogix

          Yup, if you see one striding down a path like it owns the place, step aside politely and wait for it to pass.

          • Robert Guyton

            And tip yer hat, by the sounds of it!

            • mickysavage

              RL has credibility. He never accepts status quo. He always questions proposals for change but from a class viewpoint. I think we should analyse what he is saying and not speculate about his motivations.

              • WeTheBleeple

                Credibility? He tried call me a racist for sharing a story about racism. That's Trump-like in horseshit credibility. He blew an anecdote up into his typical 50 answers arguing racism should not be called racism response.

                He is a tedious pedantic. Just to engage with him ensures you will be treated in bad faith.

                But he has a reasonable vocabulary, that which some mistake for intelligence round here.

                • RedLogix

                  Well if you behave like a racist by attempting to slur all Australians with a story about the bad behaviour of a few, then don't be too surprised if the hat fit. Note how you were quite free dishing out the r-word; others will note how you're reacting when it bounced back at you. Maybe it's worth reflecting on that.

                  Australia has a deep and difficult story in relation to it's indigenous peoples; a story about which you evidently know sfa and I'm not going to pretend to know all that much more. But like far too many kiwis you like to assume a wholly unwarranted moral superiority on the back of this tragedy, an almost inevitable one given the historic context.

                  Here's the silly part, I don't think your are a racist, and I really don't want to get caught up in unproductive confrontations with you. This is not what I'm here for, although there is a bit of a tag team following me around trying to drag me off into that ditch. And just because you mistake my usual politeness for pedancy, please don't imagine I haven't lasted here over 13 years now because I'm entirely harmless.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    "Australians" are a race?

                    • RedLogix

                      As you well know the terms race, ethnicity and nationality may well be technically different, but they substantially overlap in reality.

                    • solkta

                      To use 'race' and "nationality" interchangeably is to render both words redundant. Would be a good way to get a D in a social science essay. I'd guess that you aren't so sloppy with engineering terms.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes people are sloppy in everyday vernacular.

                      But lets see now. WTB's story involved the epithet 'chinks'. Now we all understand this is a clearly derogatory racial term toward Chinese people. Yet there is no singular Chinese race as such. There are at least 56 different ethnicities encompassed by the modern nation we call China.

                      Now I could pick this apart as you seem keen to do, but we all know exactly what is meant here. Pretending otherwise is well … tedious and pedantic.

                    • solkta


                    • RedLogix

                      Yes i think he is the most bad faith 'contributor' here.


                      The irony is thick with this one.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "As you well know the terms race, ethnicity and nationality may well be technically different, but they substantially overlap in reality."

                      Hmmmm…perhaps I'm being pedantic but I've long regarded Australia as a melting-pot of races.
                      (Mind you, with the way climate change is heating the place up, perhaps just “melting-pot” is sufficient description!)

                • solkta

                  Just to engage with him ensures you will be treated in bad faith.

                  Yes i think he is the most bad faith 'contributor' here. He also gets away with way more on here than anybody else. Whenever i have attributed to someone ideas and motivations that they have not directly stated i have been pulled up – him, unimpeded modus operandi.

                  • RedLogix

                    WTB related a story above about the clearly illegal and blatantly racist behaviour of some individuals in a particular place and time. He drops this into a thread in which the primary context is the assertion that 'Australia is a racist country'.

                    What do you think was his intent? To support that contention or refute it?

                  • Incognito

                    As RL mentioned, there’s posse of trigger-happy commenters here following his every comment. To his credit, he almost never loses his rag and never completely AFAIK – he knows when to retreat to prevent things from going nuclear [pardon the pun].

                    His comments are not everybody’s cup of tea in style and/or content.

                    If his comments rile you so much maybe you should not engage with them. If you do engage, please keep it respectful while pushing back, hard, if you like. I know that RL’s comments rile a few commenters but they generally keep it well within the boundaries of robust debate – there is much leeway for that.

                    FWIW, quite a few times, I’ve been on the cusp of moderating but I’m very reluctant to interfere with robust debate. The downside of this is that those reoccurring pile-ons leave a bad taste and have a negative influence on future threads, i.e. they start on the wrong foot with a negative bias and sentiment towards RL or other commenters, for that matter.

                    If/when it gets out of control I or another Moderator will take action, possibly with one or a couple of warnings first, but I cannot guarantee this. People are expected to self-moderate here.

            • Sacha

              Let it make your hat a home, if it wants.

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    Affirmative action of one kind or another is often attended with difficulties. But Stuff have made something of a go of returning to journalistic standards from the tragic clickbait of not too long ago. Hopefully this turn will manifest in a better understanding between the cultures, and stronger reporting with more sophisticated perspectives. Time will tell.

  13. swordfish 13

    Corporate Woke … Cringeworthy.

    • Robert Guyton 13.1

      Did they wake from a torpor of some sort? Awaken to find themselves crushing some unfortunate and resolved to stop doing it? Woke … up?

    • greywarshark 13.2

      It's a big gesture. Now it's done they will be expected to keep it up. That isn't cringeworthy.

    • mac1 13.3

      "Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher……. denied the investigation was an exercise in political correctness or being "woke".

      She said, "I don't buy into that at all."

      She gives reasons as to why she argues that in an article by Katarina Williams.


      Have you read thoroughly that article, swordfish, or any other on why Stuff has taken this rather startling action and stance?

    • SPC 13.4

      Post corporate as to their past reporting as a once corporate media

      Well, in so far as Maori are concerned.

      As for unions, the working class in terms of wages and conditions – support for migration and neo-liberal policy settings that result in inequality … .

      At this stage its very middle class PC, and it will impress those of the Maori middle class. All to be expected post iwi settlements and whanau ora. A new deal with a portion of the Maori population who own property (a bit like during the last land lord wars of the 1860's).

  14. Drowsy M. Kram 14

    A progressive apology, whatever the reason(s). Better 'Woke' than taking 40 Winks wink

  15. Infused 15

    It's a bunch of virtue signaling bullshit

    • RedLogix 15.1

      It certainly has an element of virtue signalling about it, but I'd not altogether discount the good intentions of the authors either. There is racist history, there are things in our past we should regret. Saying so is not altogether a bad thing, but at the same time there is much to our collective story that we can be proud of, and take hope from … and we can say that too.

      But Sanctuary more or less nailed it above, if the Stuff editors want change, they will be judged on their actions not their words.

      • Shanreagh 15.1.1

        But Sanctuary more or less nailed it above, if the Stuff editors want change, they will be judged on their actions not their words.

        Yes agree with this we can but wait and I am keen to see the new way of reporting in the actual words ie the actions.

        And I agree we should not be all the time beating ourselves over the head with the past without praising ourselves for the good bits. One of the good bits is that our shared past and trust in the structures of Govt has allowed us to work together on Covid-19 just as it allowed us to work together to fight wars etc

        “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” LP Hartley or they walked to the beat of different drum….

        • RedLogix

          Yup that last quote is a very good one.

        • Robert Guyton

          So says LP Hartley but each cultural line long ago reached the point when they knew what was what and one of those whats was 'don't desecrate the earth'. When some cultures fell into the black hole of their own creation, the excuse that each successive generation could hide behind the 'walk to the beat of a different drum' excuse rang hollow. I don't buy it. The important things are known, deep down, by everyone and ignoring that call from the depths makes every individual culpable. Allowing sheep-dip to gush into the nearest stream, for example, isn't the act of a cultural innocent – they knew, we know. Enough excuses already!

          • Shanreagh

            I buy it to an extent. I do not feel as positive for that 'drum' quote as I have always felt for the 'past is a different country one'. The concept I like is going forward in a new way rather than spending time on mea culpas and looking back. By going forward in a different way we are saying we don't want to go forward in the way we were before.

            I too believe that we are all deep down aware of our rapacious selves, the ones that let sheep dip out into a nearby stream, the ones that leave slash behind in forests in high intense rainfall areas, that force cows to calve in wall to wall mud.

            That we do not do these now should be areas of 'best practice' in management terms. But before it got to be best practice many would have observed it was not right, in their view to be doing this.

            Those who say, say money, money hurry, hurry tune into this part of our psyche that says 'I can't care as I need the $$$$ to support my family'.

            As far as farming and land use goes I am hoping that by encouraging a bit of modelling of a different path, perhaps the regenerative farming one, our Govt can effect change here. A simple start for the future could be a core- or prerequisite paper on Regenerative farming in our Ag or land based degrees.

            I also feel that with a mandate from NZers the best time to have put some big picture stuff out, done some forceful change magic would have been this side of Christmas. We seem to lost the initiative and now have a newspaper chain grabbing its own headlines.

            DMK says it in this quote from Marcus Aurelius.

            "Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one."
            – Marcus Aurelius

    • Drowsy M. Kram 15.2

      It's a bunch of virtue signaling bullshit

      A revealing opinion. Better (and easier) to remain silent, you reckon?

      "Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one."
      – Marcus Aurelius

  16. mac1 16

    What Stuff has published today is a world away from what it was doing seven years ago publishing racist cartoons by Nesbit, for example, for which it was criticised by Dame Susan Devoy.

    To make an apology is a large and positive action. It involves recognition of past wrongdoing, responsibility to make changes and some public humility.

    I applaud them. In 2013 I said in a Letter to the Editor "I saw this cartoon last night, and felt it overstepped the mark in obvious stereotypical fashion, fell short of the mark in terms of humour. and left an unsightly mark in terms of race relations."

    How much has that company moved its thinking in seven years!

    I also learned then how sharp our expressed opinions can be to the recipient, when I next met the Editor, a man who I knew basically to be a decent man as he gave me his reaction upon receiving that Letter!

  17. R.P Mcmurphy 18

    does this mean we are going to have public self flagellation once a week on Friday lunchtimes to appease the gods?

    • McFlock 18.1

      If I remember my theology correctly, if you mean it and change, you only have to confess once. But if you don't mean it, not one of hundreds of confessions will count.

  18. RosieLee 19

    I applaud Stuff's decision to acknowledge and atone for racism. Long overdue.

    Now can they please do something about their blatantly right wing, biased, opinion pieces masquerading as news?

    • Duncan 19.1

      That would be great, and I guess on first thoughts we could hold them accountable under their new TOW partnership laws.

      But then they could argue it's not about left v right wing, they are creating a discussion between Treaty partners for the well being of NZ, when they well know that will create further divide unless handled correctly.

      I haven't really looked yet, but do they have a governance made up of equal Treaty partners?

      Divisiveness is the new news.

      Maybe they will end up even further to the right as a consequence.

    • Chris T 19.2

      Because heaven forbid we carry on with this diversity of opinion given a voice and platform…

  19. KSaysHi 20

    It's good to see them publically declaring a position rather than sending staff to Te Reo Maori training.

  20. Ian 21

    Too busy planting trees today to cancel my sub to these woke wankers.First thing tomorrow I will purge myself once again from their propaganda machine. Their heads have disappeared up their arses . Highly amusing.

  21. mosa 22

    Well the Maoris have had their apology now how about one for all the biased political reporting they engaged in for the last 30 + years.

    I am not holding my breath. There is no cure for arrogant detachment.

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