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NZ: Māori online bashing on the rise, former police officer warns

Ex-police officer Steve Elers says there must be a line between what is acceptable and not in terms of online bashing. Image:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Item: 8338

AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch / Pacific Scoop): Online bashing of Māori is on the rise, says a researcher at AUT University.

Steve Elers, a former police investigator who is researching a doctorate in communication studies at AUT, stumbled across “offensive” online sites this month.

Elers says he was searching for information on Māori identity using internet search engine tools. There is a growing trend of online Māori bashing, he says.The URL redirects you to this Google images page. Image: Google

He is investigating Māori identity in the context of social media and the internet.

“I hope this will prompt further discussion on racism in New Zealand that focuses on online content in terms of censorship or laws,” Elers says.

“While everyone has the right to freedom of speech, I think there is a line that has been crossed of what is acceptable and what isn't.”

Anonymous postings
He returned to New Zealand to live in 2012 after working for the Western Australian police for several years.

“From personal experience, I have to say I experienced less personal racism in Perth. The Aussies love Māori.”

Elers not only discovered negative content about Māori on social media and web forums but found hundreds of anonymous web postings on forums.

He says the Domain Name Commissioner should take action and deregister the offensive sites. Elers says the internet is as an amazing tool within a global society.

However, it is also being used for bullying and harassment where people are more likely to be brash and bold online because they have the ability to say whatever they want anonymously.

“Looking at it from another perspective, it actually demonstrates that racist attitudes do exist in New Zealand.

"Before, the only other opportunity that racists had to reach an audience anonymously was talkback radio. Now we have the internet.”

Among the "racist" domains cited by Elers are:  - defaulting to the NZ overnment department Work and Income - defaulting to the NZ overnment department Work and Income - defaulting to Kentucky Fried Chicken  - defaulting to key words on Google

The New Zealand Māori Internet Society made a formal complaint about another domain name earlier this year.

"We are writing a letter to the owner's employer and sponsors expressing our disgust with a follow up to the Domain Name Commissioner who has neglected to address our original complaint," Māori and Pacific issues online advocate Karaitiana Tairua told Pacific Media Watch.

New Zealand Māori Internet Society

Indigenous and Asia-Pacific online advocacy

Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

About the authors

PMC profile photograph

Khing Chadwick

Pasifika student journalist

Khing Chadwick is a Graduate Diploma in Pacific Journalism student journalist at AUT University.

PMC profile photograph

Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
(cc) Creative Commons


Maori bashing

Thanks for mentioning this Steve I finally found someone who believes me about Maori becoming the worlds only second class Netizens. I have been fighting a battle by myself against the entrenched Treaty hate movement. It is John Ansells crowd Tim Wikiriwhi, Martin Doutre, Mike Butler, Aamy Hall, David Round. They make a living demonising Maori New Zealanders. I could use your support

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