ALLISON HUNTER AGAINST OTAGO DAILY TIMES
Case Number: 3094
Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2021
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: Otago Daily Times
Te Reo and reporting on Te Ao Maori
The Otago Daily Times ran a piece by Talia Marshall in its Life & Style section on August 30, 2021 headlinedViews on the hill. This was a column in which the writer reflected on her history as a Maori woman living in Dunedin. She had planned a visit to the affluent suburb of Maori Hill “to do a head count of how many Maori there are in Maori Hill”, but this had been thwarted by the lockdown. The piece touched on whakapapa and memories of her favourite resident at a local rest home, where she used to work, who she described metaphorically as a stringy old bird who was far too tough to be eaten.
Allison Hunter said she was in shock after reading this article which she said was racist and wrong on many levels. She could not understand why such an article was printed. She said it breached Media Council Principle 1 (accuracy, fairness and balance) and 7 (discrimination and diversity) but did not advance arguments to support her view.
There is no evidence that the article was inaccurate, unfair or unbalanced and Principle 7 sets out how race can be a legitimate subject of discussion.
Although it was not marked as opinion it was clearly a first person piece. It was a whimsical reflection on race and history and the references to race were not gratuitous. Some might take offence at her wry comment on the toughness of elderly Pakeha woman, but that position was not argued.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.