Pacific Media Watch

17 May 2016

REGION: Sport commentators stir anger over 'butchered' Pasifika names

Hero image
PIMA chair Will 'Ilolahia ... Pasifika name mispronunciation over last weekend's league match qualifies as "racist". Image: Lei Shi/PMC Online

AUCKLAND (Radio New Zealand International/Waatea Media Watch):The Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) lodged a complaint with Australian broadcaster Fox Sport after continuous mispronunciation of Pasifika names during the Pacific Islands Rugby League Internationals in Sydney over the weekend.

In an interview with Radio New Zealand International, PIMA chair Will ‘Ilolahia said the commentators were “butchering” the names -and laughing at some - as they were saying it.

"To me it qualifies as a racist act because racism is when one particular culture or race feels that they can dominate the other and through te reo, language, it's just another method of perpetuating that racism so that's why we have actually said it's racist,” ‘Ilolahia told RNZI.

He continued saying commentators had been struggling to pronounce names correctly for years and it was time they learned with the increased presence of Pacific players at an elite level.

A comment on the PIMA Facebook page showed an apology email from Foxtel, which stated the company would be reviewing their coverage to improve in all areas of production.

PIMA has offered to train broadcasters on Pacific pronunciation.

Will 'Ilolahia's full interview with Radio Waatea

Creative Commons Licence


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3

Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators. (cc) Creative Commons