Nikora, L. W. & Te Pohe, Y. (2008). What’s in a title? The use of honorifics in media coverage. In Levy, M., Nikora, L.W., Masters-Awatere, B., Rua, M. & Waitoki, W. (Eds). Claiming Spaces: Proceedings of the 2007 National Maori and Pacific Psychologies Symposium 23rd-24th November 2007 (pp. 74-76). Hamilton, New Zealand: Māori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/1546
On the 15th August 2006, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu (referred to in this paper as Te Arikinui) passed away at the age of 75 years old after serving the Kingitanga movement for forty years. Her passing heralded the movement of large numbers of people to Turangawaewae marae where she lay in state. Intensive media coverage played a significant role in representing who Te Arikinui was, in profiling the Kingitanga movement and activities associated with the tangi as it progressed from the 15th to the 21st August 2006. While we may be able to identify a “correct” honorific for Te Arikinui, our findings suggest that its understanding and use by mainstream television news media presenters, reporters and interviewees is a matter influenced by ethnic and cultural politics. The preferred use of titles by Maori and non-Maori sets up a process where representations of Te Ariki are contested. To non-Maori she is a “Dame”. To Maori, she is Te Arikinui. Through further analysis and theorising we will endeavour to further discuss the nature of these politics and the differences between Maori and non-Maori representations of Te Arikinui.
Maori and Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato
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