Once again what seems to be a dispute between past and present executives and news staff at Maori Television hits the news. This time supposedly about an allegation that Ms Forbes misappropriated her employer provided wardrobe when she left MTS. See the news report here.
Most commentators are linking this revelation back to the Native Affairs series of exposes about Te Kohanga Reo National Trust (TKRNT) and its subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga Ltd, commented on by Te Putatara here. The Twitterati and Facebook crowd have also linked the removal of several news executives and presenters from Maori TV to the same TKRNT episode, and have assumed an ongoing feud between them and MTS, caused by the Native Affairs team taking on the Maori Establishment.
It all seems too simple to me. One thing I’ve learnt from decades of Maori politics is that nothing is ever what it seems to be.
The Indonesians have a pepeha “Ada udang dibelakang batu” which means literally “There’s a prawn behind the rock” or “There’s more to this than meets the eye“. And a long time ago, long long before TV and the Internet my grandmother taught me never to believe anything I read in the newspaper or heard on the radio, and to believe only half of what I saw and heard for myself. She might well have said don’t believe anything you read on Facebook or Twitter. Suspending judgement and waiting for the full story to reveal itself, sometimes digging for the full story myself, always works for me. I suspect there’s two sides to the real story and we haven’t heard either of them yet.
What we’ve heard is what they want us to hear. What’s more important and ultimately far more interesting is what they don’t want us to hear.
But is it really important, this spat between a minor Maori celebrity and her supporters, and some unknown and therefore unimportant detractors, presumably associated with MTS?
My advice to those who are upset by the allegation, even outraged, is to take a deep breath, to abide by the wisdom of my grandmother and don’t believe any of it; from either side. This wardrobe stuff is just a ripple on the surface of the pond. There’s a prawn behind the rock and we haven’t seen it yet.