Public Information Advertisements: Māori Perspectives
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The broad objective of this research is to examine Māori perspectives of public information advertisements as part of wider social marketing campaigns in Aotearoa New Zealand that are designed to persuade M?ori to change their behaviours. Underpinned by a kaupapa Māori approach, I conducted focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews. Influenced by grounded theory as a method of analysis, participants felt that the public information advertisements affix blame rather than fix problems. Participants felt that the advertisements positioned M?ori as stereotyped caricatures that fit within the mould of deficit ideologies. For example, Māori were consistently shown as criminal, drink and drug drivers, child abusers and so forth. This is concerning given that the mass media are the primary source of information about cultural groups other than one's own and can influence conceptions of social reality. Moreover, the diverse realities of Māori emerged within the research as two distinct groups were identified; the lower socio-economic group (either rural or urban based and on a social welfare benefit or employed in unskilled labour), and the middle socio-economic group (urban based, tertiary educated and/or in skilled employment). Participants from the lower socio-economic group offered personal experiences of the health and social issues that were portrayed in the advertisements. On the other hand, the middle socio-economic group did not offer any experiences of the health and social issues and were highly critical of the advertisements, even when prompted for positive feedback. There were differences between the two socio-economic groups in how they interpreted or decoded the advertisements. This research has questioned whether social marketing initiatives and public information advertisements are the appropriate tools to counter the health and social issues that impact upon Māori, and further, if public information advertisements are necessary, then they should be created by Māori, for Māori.