Poor Dave Withrow's radio insists on speaking te reo Māori to him. Won't someone please think of the aging fisherman? 

Pity the fate of the older man, whose once certain world gets turned upside down. Such a one is Dave Witherow, who described in a column in the Otago Daily Times the anguish he feels every time he listens to Radio New Zealand and hears as much as an entire sentence being spoken in te reo Māori.

Not only this, but for one whole week a year – one in fifty-two! – he must suffer things like hearing people with Māori names suggest that constant mispronunciation demonstrates a certain lack of respect towards them and their forebears. 

Why, oh why, can’t such people just be made of sterner stuff, like Duffy Witteron himself?

For Daffy Wutherspoon knows how things should be. This is New Zealand, and in New Zealand we only speak the language of a place 18,000 kilometers away. Anything else is just PC nonsense foisted on us by political meddling.

What’s that you say? People were speaking te reo Māori for some hundreds of years before English was ever heard on these shores? And it actually has been an official language of New Zealand alongside English since 1987?

Well, a sensible and clear-thinking man like Dippy Withnocow is not interested in mere fripperies like history or the law. What matters is what people do now. And no one wants to hear nonsense like te reo Māori spoken on their radios.

You can just tell from the voices of Radio New Zealand’s poor staff, forced by their political overlords to speak such mumbo-jumbo through gritted teeth.

Oh, sure, Guyon Espiner may have written on The Spinoff that “I wanted to do more [te reo Māori] and began to extend the greetings and include basic information in Māori – such as the days, dates and temperatures for the main centres.” But who are you going to believe: Guyon Espiner or Domby Wiltersnipe?

And you can tell how upset ordinary New Zealander’s are at Radio New Zealand by its listenership figures. People must be turning off having to listen to that te reo Māori nonsense in droves!

What’s that you say? More people than ever are listening to Radio New Zealand, while its share of the radio market is increasing?

And Morning Report, with its entire sentences spoken in te reo Māori, is leading the charge, attracting an additional 100,000 listeners over the last 18 months?

It’s almost as if a lot of people actually don’t think like Dicky Warbartoon and instead really like hearing two languages woven together, appreciating the opportunity to learn something more about the place in which they live. It’s just too bad that an old dog like Dusty Wilberforce apparently isn’t interested in learning new tricks anymore.


Comments (8)

by Kat on November 24, 2017

Yes, but as award winning journo from Gore Barry Soper would argue since Ditty has been around for forty years (or more) he is intitled to an "opinion".

by Rab McDowell on November 24, 2017
Rab McDowell

There is an underlying assumption here that RNZ's use of Te Reo is having a positive effect on its listener numbers.That may well be true.

But it could also be true that the use of Te Reo is having a neutral effect and that it is improved content is attracting more listeners. Or it could be that the increased use of Te Reo is having a negative effect but that this is out weighed by the effect of improved content. Or it could be that more and more Kiwis see putting up with a bit of Te Reo as a lesser evil than listening to wall to wall adverts,

There could well be listeners in all categories. It appears that Dave Withrow is still listening and so is likely to be in the third of fourth group. There may well be many like him.

by on November 24, 2017

This maybe hear say but I think it's pretty accurate. Listeners of the hosk have more in common with readers of dicky than they do with listeners of RNZ. And if folk don't appreciate the soothing purity of DNA they can always turn the dial to RNZ.


on another note TVNZ profit is way way down. And particularly TV3 ratings is down. And I think you'll find some symmetry with falling TV3 ratings and rising RNZ ratings.


Steven Joyce plus TV3 minus John Cambpell = big fucken yawn.

by Andrew Geddis on November 25, 2017
Andrew Geddis


Perhaps we could put it this way ... the change in listener numbers provides at least prima facie evidence that far more people are nuetral-to-postive about the use of te reo Māori on RNZ than are of the Dove Wimpering persuasion.

by Rab McDowell on November 25, 2017
Rab McDowell

Yes, you could say there is a prima facie case.But we could also be falling into a common statistical trap and should remind ourselves of 101 statistics 'that correalation does not imply causation'.

Wikipedia gives us the example of numerous studies that showed women using hormone replacement therapy had  lower than average coronary heart disease. Proper randomised trials showed HRT actually increased heart disease risk but that this was masked by the fact that most women on HRT were from higher socio-economic groups that had lower heart disease than the population.

Is something similar happening here? Hard to tell. If there is merit to your prima facie case we could test it by gradually increasing the amount of Te Reo on RNZ until we get to a level of, say, 50% of total content and measure that against changes in listener numbers.

by on November 25, 2017

We live in a world that's been piling on demand and assuming they are all white working class.

by Charlie on November 26, 2017

I listen to RNZ, not because it's any good, but because there are no ads.

Concert Radio gets full points though.


by Graham Adams on November 26, 2017
Graham Adams

Interest in learning another language has plummeted, to the point now that only 20.3 per cent of secondary school students are enrolled to study a second language (the lowest level since 1933). For some time now, we have been encouraged to value education for its commercial and career utility alone, and certainly not learning for its own sake. I suspect some of the hostility to learning even the small amount of Maori needed to understand the few sentences uttered on RNZ is one result of this attitude. Many NZers simply don't see the point of learning anything that doesn't have an obvious payoff. 

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