MARTY BURWOOD AGAINST THE SPINOFF AND NEWSHUB

Case Number: 2702

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: The Spinoff

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Misleading

Overview

CASE NO: 2702

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF MARTY BURWOOD AGAINST THE SPINOFF AND NEWSHUB

FINDING: NO GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: AUGUST 2018

Marty Burwood was outraged that an article The Moriori myth and why it’s still with us “intimated that the genocide exacted on mori ori by te ati awai is a myth and did not happen.”

Keri Mills’ briefing paper was originally published on AUT’s The Policy Observatory and was picked up by other outlets, includingThe Spinoff and Newshub, about whom Mr Burwood complained. The article is a commentary on what happened to the Moriori after Taranaki Maori travelled to the Chatham Islands in the 1830s.

Mr Burwood also wrote to Hekotehi Moriori Trust on Rekohu (the Chatham Islands) and received a reply, correspondence which the Media Council has seen.

Mr Burwood appears to have misread the article which reported that many Moriori were killed and that others were enslaved. The article was a straight forward attempt to debunk some historical misconceptions and Mr Burwood does not set out clearly how the publication was in breach of any Media Council principles.

Responding for Hokotehi Moriori Trust Susan Thorpe said … we think her article was useful and reasonably well researched. And in reply to the particular point raised by Mr Burwood –We did not interpret the article that way. In fact the article noted that 300 Moriori had been killed and the rest enslaved. What the article did not mention was that Moriori had renounced violence and so chose not to fight.The Trust was going to take up this point with the author.

As a consequence of an interview with the author on RNZ, Maui Solomon, Chair of Hokotehi Moriori Trust was given an opportunity to give a Moriori perspective. Among his comments he said he didn’t have any issues with the way the author explained the history, but he welcomed the opportunity to provide further detail and context.

Given these views the Media Council considers there are no grounds to proceed with this complaint. The article has added to, and engendered, discussion on an important topic and this is to be welcomed.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed.