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Rawiri Taonui

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Maniapoto

Dr Rawiri Taonui is a semi-retired academic, independent writer, researcher and advisor on Māori and Indigenous human rights and racism. He was the first Professor of Indigenous Studies in New Zealand (AUT University), Professor of Māori and Indigenous Studies in the Centre for Indigenous Leadership and Head of the School of Maori Art, Knowledge and Education (Massey University); Head of the School of Māori & Indigenous Studies (Canterbury University); and a lecturer in Pacific Studies, Māori Studies and History (Auckland University). Rawiri has over 800 academic book chapters, articles, and media columns and features and won 9 writing awards. He is writing a 3rd edition of Ka Whāwhai tonu mātou - Struggle without End - A History of Māori. Rawiri is a member of the National Taskforce on Anti-Racism (NZ Human Rights Commission), Ngā Mōrehu - the National Taskforce for Māori Survivors of abuse in State and Faith based care; the Academic Advisory Group to the National Security Group (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), and the Welcoming New Cultural Communities Initiative (Ministry of Internal Affairs & NZ Human Rights Commission). Rawiri has spoken at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2017 and previously at the UN Experts Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2015.

Representation, racism, power and mass communication

Media can carry social power and influence for owners and leaders and may reflect and favour their worldviews over others if internal and external checks and balances are lacking. Unchecked media can cause harm to others by excluding the authentic voices of communities, stigmatising and marginalising people, surfacing prejudice, creating negative stereotypes and perpetuating racism.

The internet has amplified the issues around representation and power in mass communication with users being able to access all forms of digital communication. Algorithms delivering what readers have preferred to view in the past can play a role in amplifying misinformation and disinformation, increasing prejudice and creating conditions that increase inequality.

What does it all mean? How do people keep themselves informed but safe, too? What responsibility do media companies have to acknowledge and counter the prejudices that may lie within? What are some of the solutions?

Rawiri Taonui
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