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Kia ora, Magic Talk. If you’re truly sorry, here’s how to prove it on Waitangi Day

Lawyer and commentator Kingi Snelgar has some programming recommendations for a stellar Waitangi Day line-up.

Dear Magic FM

E ngā kaiwhakarite o Magic Talk, tēnā koutou,

I heard in horror the recording earlier this week on your station as your temporary host John Banks allowed and contributed to racist comments by a talkback caller called Richard. To make matters worse, rather than cut the caller off, Banks preceded to say about Māori culture: “Your children need to get used to their [Māori] stone age culture, because if their stone age culture doesn’t change, these people will come through your bathroom window.”

My immediate thought was, are we in the 1960s? I soon realised that in the Trump era, anything is possible and allowing racist drivel on a national media platform is not beyond my imagination.

You know that John Banks is not some random caller or shock jock but rather an individual with considerable influence. He is the former Mayor of Auckland and a former member of parliament. He is also someone with a history of white privilege and racism. A few years ago, he described Māori and Pacific people from South Auckland as dole bludgers who would be coming through our windows. He has a real thing about windows.

As a broadcaster, you have a responsibility under broadcasting standards to prevent discrimination based on race. Allowing Mr Banks and the caller to say Māori are inferior and predisposed to violence is clear discrimination. Another questions I have is why did the show producer not stop the broadcast? There must have been other employees working on the show with the ability to stop the broadcast, yet nothing was done. Does this point to some wider institutional problems that need remedy?

I was heartened to hear corporate Aotearoa who advertise on your station respond with condemnation. Racism is no longer an issue that Māori should carry alone, but a responsibility on wider New Zealand to stamp out. We can only look to the Christchurch terror attacks for why white privilege and racism cannot be tolerated in any form.

I was glad to hear your station’s apology and that Banks will no longer be used on-air at MediaWorks. This was an important first step. However, this is only one step on the road to redemption for your station. If Magic wishes to truly demonstrate that it does not tolerate racism, action (not words) is required. My suggestion is you create a space to discuss Māori culture with listeners. We are not a stone age culture (although using that term pejoratively says more about Banks than it does about cultures that don’t use metallurgy), we are peoples of rich history on these lands, whose culture and lore has evolved as all societies evolve. I cannot think of a better opportunity than to start this conversation on Waitangi Day.

I have put together a three hour show below as a suggestion for you to run on Waitangi Day. I am tired of the white privilege talkback routine and I offer below a schedule that might help change this.

I cast the net out on Twitter to ask who they would recommend for different kaupapa. I’ve incorporated some of those suggestions but if I were to interview them all, we might need to take on a regular slot. Indeed, a one off show might be viewed as token whereas a regular slot would demonstrate an ongoing commitment.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi: For the Waitangi Day show, you should begin with a panel to discuss the history of Treaty of Waitangi, the differences between the two versions and what that means, what the Treaty principles are, the history leading up to the land march of 1975 and why the Waitangi tribunal was established.

Some guests for this segment could be Dr Hirini Kaa, Dr Aroha Harris, Professor Margaret Mutu and Dr Carwyn Jones.

The next segment would be a discussion on contemporary Treaty issues through a series of panels. There are many topics so I would split this part into subcategories:

Health: Professor Papaarangi Reid, Sir Mason Durie, Dr Emma Espiner, Hone Harawira, Dr Hinemoa Elder, Dr Diana Rangihuna-Kopua

Social welfare and housing: Jade Kake, Dame Naida Glavish, Dame Tariana Turia

Environment and monuments: Tina Ngata, Mike Smith, Kera O’Regan, Pania Newton, India Logan-Riley

Justice: Julia Whaipooti, Emmy Rakete, Moana Jackson, Sir Kim Workman, Khylee Quince, Tracey McIntosh

Media: Mihingarangi Forbes, Moana Maniapoto, Scotty Morrison, Peter-Lucas Jones

Treaty settlements and the Māori economy: Tamati Kruger, Rukumoana Schaafhausen, Tama Potaka, Sir Tumu Te Heuheu VIII, Parekawhia Mclean

Te reo Māori: Quentin Hita, Sir Timoti Karetu, Raniera Harrison, Stacey Morrison, Alana Thomas, Pou Temara, Moe Milne

Not all of those I suggest will be available or willing but I am confident with your help, I can make something happen for a special Waitangi Day show. I would be willing to help host this show as I know others would too.

The question is, are you brave enough to do it?




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