BSA rules that using Te Reo Māori is not a breach of broadcasting standards after significant complaints

Headlines 09/03/2021

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has received five times as many enquiries’ about people speaking te reo māori on-air as in the last years period. Out of 27 enquiries, two of them became formal complaints against broadcasters.

As te reo māori is the official language of Aotearoa, the BSA made it clear that it’s not a breach of standards.

A complaint in early February claimed that using te reo is “discriminatory” towards non-māori. The individual felt that because the greetings were in te reo māori across multiple news and current affairs shows that it created an “expectation that viewers should accept te reo”.

"I don't speak te reo Māori. I don't have the desire to do so and neither is it right to be expected. I respect Māori for doing what they can to keep their language alive as it's part of their culture. But it's not mine," The complaint said.

There was no formal decision made about the complaint as the company didn’t want to give the complainant an undeserved legitimacy.

It’s good to see the broadcasting standards authority and companies making it clear that speaking te reo māori on-air and in media is our right, not something to complain about.