Pacific Islanders in Mainstream New Zealand Media: Visibility of Pacific Island News Broadcasters and Their Pathways Towards Higher Positions
New Zealand’s population has become increasingly multicultural since the migration of the Pacific Islands in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The multicultural changes in society’s diverse makeup highlights the need to examine how the mass media represents these different cultural groups, more specifically; Pacific Islanders. Population statistics from the 2013 New Zealand census show Pacific Islanders made up 7.4 percent of the total population making it the fourth largest ethnic group behind European, Māori and Asian. However, although New Zealand celebrates its multicultural make up, mainstream newsrooms, decision makers and gatekeeper roles are predominantly occupied by European.
Scholarship and historical documents show that ways in which Pacific Islanders were represented and portrayed in mainstream media have been negative and marginalising (Pearson, 1999). Utilising semi-structured interviewing and relevantly applying Pacific qualitative approaches, the Talanoa research methodology (Vaioleti, 2006) underpinned by the Tivaevae model (Te Ava, 2011), this research gained responses from experienced Pacific Island media workers about why few Pacific Islanders are employed in prominent roles within broadcast news in mainstream New Zealand media.
Moreover, particular barriers that Pacific Islanders encountered in broadcast news roles was also examined, to give insights into how their lived experiences could pave future endeavours in the industry. Having utilised the three-dimensional framework of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2013) filtered through thematic analysis my initial assumption of thinking racism played a major role in the low employment of Pacific Islanders in these prominent broadcast news roles have proved inaccurate. However, racism continues to exist in the industry, results of this research clarify the need for an institutional and cultural shift to occur for Pacific Islanders to become employed in prominent mainstream broadcast news roles in the future.