THE ASSOCIATION OF CRIME STORIES AND MAORI IN AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND PRINT MEDIA

Timothy McCreanor, Jenny Rankine, Angela Moewaka Barnes, Belinda Borell, Raymond Nairn, Anna-Lyse McManus

Abstract


This paper explores associations between crime reporting and Maori ethnicity in a large representative sample of newspaper items gathered in Aotearoa New Zealand between November 2007 and April 2008, using content, thematic and discursive analyses and audience interpretations. The association of Maori and crime was prominent in these newspapers and Maori were frequently labelled as possible or actual perpetrators of crime on superficial judgements, often by victims. This practice associates Maori with all accounts of crime and embeds crime as a background for all other items about Maori. In contrast, newspaper coverage of Pakeha perpetrators of a crime against a Maori organisation worked to valorise the convicted thieves. This embedding of crime as a background to other stories about Maori, the pervasive but unacknowledged Pakeha1 norms, and media positioning of Maori as a threat in non-crime stories, is central to hegemonic discourses of Maori-Pakeha relations. Focus groups participants indicated that these discourses support real-world marginalisation and discrimination against Maori in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Keywords


Crime, Māori, news media,

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol1iss2id240