Shortland Street has been forced to defend a storyline that aired last week over allegations it involved discrimination against Maori.
The storyline involved a Pakeha family being asked by local Maori to dish out $10 a head for use of a beach.
The soap’s Maori adviser, Ngamaru Raerino, has defended the plot, saying viewers shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions before the storyline resolved itself.
“When it first comes up it really creates animosity and hostility,” Raerino said. “When I looked at the script I thought, ‘Oh geez’. When I saw it develop, I thought, they’ve offset it by doing other things.”
The story went on to show that a Pakeha campsite owner near the beach was sending sewerage into the sea and the Maori were simply trying to hit the owner in the pocket to force her to change her ways.
“The first thing you think is that those Maori are being mercenary, but those Maori are very slick at what they’re trying to do to the campsite. They’re fighting for their rights, they’re trying to stop sewage from going into the takutaimoana,” Raerino said.