Reaction to New Zealand TV show "The GC" | Pacific Beat

Reaction to New Zealand TV show "The GC"

Reaction to New Zealand TV show "The GC"

Updated 8 May 2012, 10:31 AEST

A new TV show in New Zealand about young Maori living on Australia's Gold Coast is making waves.

Called "The GC", its focus on Maori living a flashy lifestyle has prompted comparisons to America's "Jersy Shore", and complaints about such a show being publicly funded.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speakers: Baily Mackey, the GC's creator; Christel Broederlow, who runs the Maori In Oz website for Australian Maori


HILL: The GC's first episode was screened last week, and you could hear the howls of outrage clear across the Tasman.
The sight of young, bronzed tattooed Maori trying to make it big in Australia, with plenty of photogenic sun, sand and surf has caused some embarrassment back home.
The show's creator, Baily Mackey, has appealed for people to keep watching, and not to judge the while series on just one episode.
MACKEY: Look the thing is I'd like the series to be seen in context, that was episode One right ? and yes it was on the eye candy side a bit, but ultimately things unfold and I think a whole lot of important questions about how Maoris choose to define ourselves in 2012 come out in the next few episodes. In a healthy broadcast landscape there's diversity, and Maori in 2012 is diverse. We've all got relations that live on the Gold Coast or in Australia, so we're a diverse people, we're a global people. This isn't at the hard core sort of political end, this is at the entertainment end.
HILL: The controversy surrounding the GC, it's portrayal of Maori Life in Australia and it's being made with public funds from New Zealand on air which supports locally made television, has even reached the top, with radio host Marcus Lush asking prime minister John Key if it's a good use of taxpayers money.
KEY: Well I haven't seen the program and they make these decisions completely independently, so our job is to appoint the board and their job is to make the funding ... but I don't know if it's a good show or not but I've seen the controversy swilling around and weren't they saying it was the highest watched thing. So I suppose the test is whether people watch it or not and they've probably done their job haven't they? 
LUSH: So it doesn't worry you that NZ on-air money goes to companies that are majority foreign owned?
KEY: Well I mean that's also true, you know the Herald is owned by APN which is Australian and the Dominion Post is owned by Fairfax and that's the way things are going in New Zealand.
HILL: But Christel Broederlow, who runs the Maori In Oz website for Australian Maori, says the general reaction from people she's spoken to on this side of the Tasman has been pretty positive.
BROEDERLOW: What everybody that I've spoken to has said that they think it's great, they think it's a greater show where the young people actually have aspirations and goals, they're actually going out to pursue it.
HILL: And what are the negative sides about it?
BROEDERLOW: That they're concerned about their bodies and going out and clubbing and picking up girls and guys and nothing really different then what most people have done in their youth.
HILL: So are they saying that it's a false view of Maori in Australia or that it's a view of Maori in Australia that perhaps people don't like to be on public show?
BROEDERLOW: Well I think the actual stronger negative is coming more from New Zealand, Maori that are based there rather than here in Australia. 
HILL: Why is that do you think?
BROEDERLOW: Well I can only put it down to one thing really and I call it jealousy, I'm sorry but I do, I can't understand why there is such a negative portrayal of this show because these young people are really getting up and getting active and doing what I feel is only going to have an inspirational flow-on to other youth in New Zealand and across Australia.
HILL: So that thing that one of the guys said in the promo that he came to the Gold Coast because there's the girls and there's the cash and you can't get that in Wellington, is that true?
BROEDERLOW: Well I'd say the options are not as broad. Whereas in Australia you've got beautiful weather, you've got beautiful beaches, beautiful people, beautiful lifestyle and really great job opportunities. It's a complete package, not just one thing and that's to me what the show as it goes on is going to portray is clearly the opportunities that these young people have come here for are there to embrace, and they're embracing it and they're running with it. 
HILL: So you think the problem might be that it might make Australia look more attractive to Maori in New Zealand who might come across in greater numbers, that's what they're concerned about?
BROEDERLOW: I don't see how it can't have that kind of positive effect. When you've got a lot of youth in New Zealand where obviously the unemployment rate in New Zealand is quite high, especially for youth, and to hve a show like that portraying the truth really because this show is about my own children, my sons are all at that age, they all go to the gym, they're all good looking, they love to go out to a club and party and meet girls and some of them are in relationships now but they've got great jobs, great careers, and this is something that my own family are living, they're living that dream.


Bruce Hill

Bruce Hill


Bruce is one of the Pacific’s most experienced journalists with nearly 20 years covering the region and has won several international awards.

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