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Online racism an issue for New Zealanders

By: Steve Elers
Lecturer & PhD Researcher
Auckland University of Technology
School of Communication Studies

Title: Online racism an issue for New Zealanders


There is a growing trend of “online Maori bashing” says an Auckland University of Technology lecturer and doctoral researcher.   Steve Elers, of Ngati Kauwhata, Ngati Haua, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu descent, discovered multiple websites that are racist and offensive while researching for a presentation.

“I found that there are a multitude of domain names that have been registered for no purpose at all except to cause offence,” says Elers.  “When you type  into an internet browser you are currently redirected to the Work and Income New Zealand website,” says Elers. 

Elers located numerous other internet redirects including which also forwards to the WINZ website. The domain name forwards to the KFC New Zealand website.  The domain name redirects the user to a google image search of “fat Maori”.

Elers said they are “merely the tip of the iceberg” and there are many other domain names that have been registered and are being used to offend.  “These individuals will probably claim they are not racist and that it’s funny.  I fail to see the humour in it,” says Elers.

The former police investigator returned to New Zealand to live in 2012 after working for the Western Australia Police for several years.  “From personal experience, I have to say I experienced less personal racism in Perth. The Aussies love Maori,” says Elers. 

Elers is a recipient of the AUT Vice Chancellor Doctoral Scholarship and Waikato-Tainui Doctoral Scholarship.


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