MĀORI IN UNEXPECTED PLACES: Watching Māori on Television
Keywords:television drama, Māori, audiences, Kaupapa Māori, affect
This paper draws on a study of audience responses, prompted by understandings of the power exerted by representations in television dramas. The wider study explored Māori and non-Māori meaning-making, emotions, feelings, and affective practices that arise when viewing Māori representations on locally produced television dramas. Findings from focus group responses to an episode of the local television drama The Brokenwood Mysteries are organised here, using a framework of the expected and unexpected that aligns with theories of Kaupapa Māori and affect. Three key themes emerged: ‘The Expected and Unexpected’; ‘Reflection and Challenge’; and ‘Motivations and the Writer’s Responses’. Although attention is on Māori, Pākehā responses are included. Māori were deeply affected and worked hard to pre-empt and address what they saw or expected to see. Although some Pākehā expressed discomfort and concern when responding to negative representations of Māori, they did not demonstrate the same levels of negotiation and contestation.