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Sequence of Letters to Broadcasting Standards Authority on Maori Linguistic Racism -- Letter No. 1

Peter Zohrab 2012

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New Zealand Equality Party

(address)

17 May 2002

Broadcasting Standards Authority

PO Box 9213,

Wellington

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I hereby refer to you, for the purpose of an investigation and review, the decision of TVNZ not to uphold my complaint about their routine anti-non-Maori linguistic racism, as detailed in my letter (quoted in full below) of 8 April 2002.  I will not repeat my argument here, since you will be able to read it in the quoted letter.  However, I will take up the points (such as they are) which TVNZ makes in reply to my complaint:

   

Here now is the body of my original letter to TVNZ:

'I am writing to complain about yet another example of your routine anti-non-Maori linguistic racism: In the Maori-language programme Te Karere on TV One at 06:11 a.m. on 27 March 2002, you  used the word kooti/koti to refer to the Porirua District Court.  This Maori word is, like countless others used on Te Karere, a “Maorification” of an English word – the word court.  I am not complaining about this perfectly routine, normal, common process of one language borrowing words from another language and adapting them to the syllable-structure and phonemic inventory, as well as to the morphology, of the target language – in this case, Maori.

However, on the English-language 6PM News on 29 March 2002, you mispronounced the English-language place-name “Waikato”, as you routinely do, giving it a pronunciation approximately midway between the original Maori pronunciation and its current pronunciation in New Zealand English (which, I must point out, is a language with its own rules and its own right to linguistic equality).

This racist double standard breaches the “safeguards against the portrayal of persons in programmes in a manner that encourages denigration of, or discrimination against, sections of the community on account of  race” contained in Broadcasting Standards Authority Code Requirements (s21(1)(e).  Your double standard on pronunciation and morphology (e.g. the presence or absence of “-s” at the end of plurals of words borrowed between English and Maori) encourages the denigration of New Zealand English, and portrays its speakers as being a group of people who are dependent on the approval of Maoris for the way they speak their own native language, while only Maoris are permitted to speak their own language in a (rightfully) autonomous and dignified manner.'

 

I submit that TVNZ is obviously incompetent in this matter, it has acted hypocritically in not attempting to clarify issues where it is confused, and it is acting arrogantly and racistly, as charged.

 

Sincerely,

 

Peter Zohrab ,

Acting President,

New Zealand Equality Party.

Letter No. 2

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