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Chris Lilley’s Jonah from Tonga withdrawn by New Zealand’s Mori Television

NZ minister says the Australian comedy television series perpetuates negative stereotypes of Pacific people

The board of Mori Television has withdrawn the series Jonah from Tonga from screening on the channel.

New Zealands minister for Pacific peoples, Alfred Ngaro, said the series perpetuates negative stereotypes of Pacific people and the fact it is pitched as comedy doesnt make that any more acceptable.

Its particularly disappointing to see this program being picked up within weeks of the Human Rights Commissions Give nothing to racism campaign.

Jonah from Tonga is an Australian television series written by and starring the comedian Chris Lilley. It follows a rebellious Australian boy of Tongan descent who had been introduced in Lilleys 2007 series, Summer Heights High.

Georgina te Heuheu, the chair of Mori Television, said once the full board of became aware of the screening of the program on Thursday evening, a decision was made then to pull the series. She said the values of Maori Television include respecting all communities.

We are a Mori media outlet with our own standards, and a mandate to protect and promote the Mori language and culture, te Heuheu said. This means that, as a leading indigenous broadcaster, we have a responsibility to present all cultures with a degree of respect and aroha not least those of our Pacific whanaunga.

A replacement show, Te Taumata Kapahaka, will go to air next Thursday evening.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jul/02/chris-lilleys-jonah-from-tonga-withdrawn-by-new-zealands-maori-television

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