Jonah from Tonga

PIMA member questions survey around screening Jonah from Tonga

Maori Television cancelled plans to air the Australian series "Jonah From Tonga," after an outcry from members of the Tongan community who called it racially insensitive.

40 members of the Tongan community in Auckland were surveyed by Maori Television on whether they thought it was humorous or racist.

Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy released a statement saying that just because some people who were consulted find it funny, it doesn't make it okay.

A member of the Pacific Island Media Association Adrian Stevanson said that was a very small sample size.

Sparks still fly over ‘Jonah from Tonga’ movie

In a panel interview with Kawe Korero Will ‘Ilolahia, a spokesperson for the Tongan community, disagreed with the call to pull the series.

A statement issued at the weekend by the broadcaster outlined the decision was made once the full board of Māori Television became aware of the screening of the programme last Thursday.

‘Ilolahia says he was approached by Māori Television to consult with the Tongan community prior to airing “Jonah from Tonga” and he said the overall reaction from those he spoke with was positive.