Representation, COVID-19, and failed metaphor: A critical analysis of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board vaccine booklet

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Authors
Rangiwai, Byron
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
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Grantor
Date
2021-08-02
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Type
Journal Article
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
Te Moana-a-Toi (Aotearoa)
Aotearoa
Bay of Plenty (N.Z.)
New Zealand
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
Māori health promotion
health promotion
public health
Bay of Plenty District Health Board
vaccination
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Citation
Rangiwai, B. (2021). Representation, COVID-19, and failed metaphor: A critical analysis of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board vaccine booklet. Te Kaharoa: The eJournal on Indigenous Pacific Issues, 17(1), 1-30. doi:10.24135/tekaharoa.v17i1.363
Abstract
INTRODUCTION: This paper will critically analyse the Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s (BOPDHB) controversial vaccine booklet, which featured mataora-adorned cartoon images of the COVID-19 virus. This imagery caused a furore with anecdotal evidence from social media suggesting that Māori were outraged by the portrayal of Māori in this way. This paper will offer two arguments. The first argument builds on Hokowhitu’s (2001) work, which deconstructed representations of Māori as animalistic, savage-barbarian, physical unintelligent, mythical, bewildered-childlike, and romanticised-noble. The first argument will extend Hokowhitu’s (2001) analysis by deconstructing the representation of Māori as disease-virus. While it is impossible to understand the BOPDHB’s intentions, the second argument posits that the objective might have been to use the concept of taniwha as a metaphor for COVID-19. Though this argument is significantly weaker than the first, it still warrants some exploration, even if only to provide a sense of balance to this paper.
Publisher
Auckland University of Technology
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DOI
https://doi.org/10.24135/tekaharoa.v17i1.363
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