8 Feb 2012

Paper regrets error over reporting of holocaust comments

6:33 am on 8 February 2012

The Taranaki Daily News says it regrets taking out of context Holocaust comments made by a Taranaki language lecturer.

An edition of the newspaper 6 February reported that a Taranaki language lecturer, Keri Opai, had compared European colonisation of New Zealand to the extermination of six million Jews by Nazi Germany.

The report related to comments by Mr Opai as a guest on a Radio New Zealand National panel discussion to mark Waitangi Day.

Mr Opai said he was suggesting what happened to his Parihaka ancestors amounted to a holocaust because their houses were burnt down by the colonial troops in the 1880s. He says he was not referring to the extermination of Jews under Nazi rule.

Taranaki Daily News editor Roy Pilot says he regrets putting Mr Opai in this position and says the problem was caused during the editing process.

The paper made a correction after a reporter pointed out the error.

Mr Opai says, although the newspaper has apologised over the fabrications it made, the damage is already done with the New Zealand Jewish Council reacting to the false information it has received.

Mr Pilot says he would be disappointed if the New Zealand Jewish Council cannot see that Mr Opai was talking about a holocaust and not the Jewish Holocaust and that it's been a misinterpretation.