11 Jul 2017

PIMA member questions survey around screening Jonah from Tonga

4:25 am on 11 July 2017

Members of New Zealand's Pacific community are upset that there was no consultation from the country's indigenous broadcaster over a controversial comedy.

Maori Television cancelled plans to air the Australian series "Jonah From Tonga," after an outcry from members of the Tongan community who called it racially insensitive.

Exterior sign on the Maori Television building in Newmarket, Auckland.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

40 members of the Tongan community in Auckland were surveyed by Maori Television on whether they thought it was humorous or racist.

Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy released a statement saying that just because some people who were consulted find it funny, it doesn't make it okay.

A member of the Pacific Island Media Association Adrian Stevanson said that was a very small sample size.

"I think what we've seen is that the true reflection of how the Tongan community feels anyway has been very vocal on Facebook and if anything, from what I've seen, there has been far less than 75% of the Tongan community agreeing with Maori Television, which is to run the programme," he said.

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