7 Feb 2012

Newspaper backtracks over holocaust report

7:16 pm on 7 February 2012

The editor of a regional newspaper has apologised to a Taranaki language lecturer for reporting that he compared the colonisation of New Zealand to the extermination of six million Jews.

Te Reo o Taranaki tutor Keri Opai was part of a Radio New Zealand panel discussion about Waitangi Day at Puke Ariki museum in New Plymouth over the weekend.

Mr Opai said he was comparing the plight of his Parihaka ancestors to a holocaust because their houses were burnt down by the colonial troops in the 1880s, and many innocent people were killed, including mothers and their babies.

He says although the Taranaki Daily News has apologised over the fabrications it made, the damage has already been done now that the story has gone "viral" and the New Zealand Jewish Council has reacted to it.

He says he would categorise what happened in Taranaki as a holocaust, but he says he certainly didn't talk about the Jewish holocaust.

The Taranaki Daily News says it has since retracted the comparison it made to the Jewish holocaust and has published an apology.