7 Sep 2006

Pacific academic says media in Taito Phillip Field saga a touch racist and culturally unaware

6:59 pm on 7 September 2006

The head of Samoan studies at Victoria University in Wellington is critical of the media coverage of the affairs of a Labour MP of Samoan origin, Taito Phillip Field.

Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin says there appears to be a touch of racism in the way Taito has been treated, with scant regard for cultural dimensions.

Taito is now under police investigation after a inquiry cleared him of any wrongdoing as a minister in his dealings with Thai workers.

Galumalemana says as a chief Taito has obligations in line with his position as a Samoan chief.

"Taito has given thousands of dollars to Samoan functions, to Samoan people, and fine mats of course, because of that status he has as a high chief. And it is very important that he is seen to be continuing to honour that status and that role as a matai, as a high chief."

Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin