The Coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey this weekend has their fandom across the globe gearing up for celebration over tea and scones.
But if you aren’t so fond of the British monarchy, a new plug-in may help you avoid the royal furore online.
Pīkari Mai is a web browser extension that replaces royal gossip with indigenous news produced by Māori outlets.
Using a data scrape, it automatically scans web pages for keywords and images relating to the royal family. It works so well that you may have difficulty reading news about Pīkari Mai while the extension is switched on.
The brainchild of ringatoi [Māori artist] Hāmiora Bailey (Ngāti Porou Ki Harataunga, Ngāti Huarere) is free to download on Google Chrome and Firefox. It will soon be available on Safari for Apple users.
“Our hāpori [community] is fatigued by royal gossip and I felt like we deserve the option to opt-out. Pīkari Mai is a digital artistic intervention that gives our whānau whānui [wider family] something worth reading; indigenous news,” says Bailey.
Pīkarimai.co.nz states: “For indigenous people, the fanfare and coverage surrounding the royal coronation is more than just annoying.”
In 2014, the Waitangi Tribunal found that ‘the rangatira who signed te Tiriti o Waitangi in February 1840 did not cede sovereignty to the British Crown’.
Bailey often uses their art to champion mana motuhake [self-sovereignty].
They say: “Celebration of the coronation perpetuates the myth that there is a single treaty document. Tangata whenua never ceded sovereignty. We created Pīkari Mai as a special artistic project to challenge the coronation by bringing indigenous voices to the front pages of the internet.
“We want to honour the volumes of kaituhi [indigenous writers] who have a legacy of prioritising news stories written by, for and about tangata whenua.”
A Massey University study in 2022 found that Māori made up less than 10 per cent of journalists in Aotearoa. That’s an increase from around 2 per cent in the 1980s.
Bailey says swapping monarchy news for Māori writers is a chance to raise the profile of their work and indigenous stories more broadly.
“I want to give my koroua, my grandparents or my elders, and indigenous nationhood as big of a platform as the Crown gets – and why not?”
The project described by its’ creator as whakatoi (cheeky) and haututū (mischievous), has support from businesses across Aotearoa.
Those who aren’t on the royal bandwagon have donated billboards, radio time, and promotional material.
It was a quick and easy decision to support the creation of Pīkari Mai by co-creators Colenso BBDO taking just one week to come to the table.
Angela Watson, managing director of the Auckland based advertising agency says: “Around the world the legacy of colonialism is reflected in everyday ways that you may never think of – from street names to statues – this has a lasting impact on the psyche and sense of belonging for us as tangata tiriti, and our relationship with indigenous peoples globally, and tangata whenua here.
“The upcoming coronation will dominate our airwaves and whether you’re a fan or not you can appreciate how this is a reminder of the attempt to erase Māori culture in Aotearoa. When Sam shared the concept of Pīkari Mai as a statement of expression and a tool to highlight indigenous news, we were compelled to help with its creation.”
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was welcomed to London by Prince William ahead of the coronation, and has now met with King Charles during the visit.
At a press conference before leaving Aotearoa for the UK Hipkins was asked about the prospect of New Zealand becoming independent from the Crown.
He said: “Ideally, in time, New Zealand will become a fully independent country, will stand on our own two feet in the world, as we by and large do now,” but he is not making the change a priority.
Pīkari Mai is completely independent of any media organisations. It is not associated with or endorsed by any of the news sources and websites that it takes you away from or takes you to.
Download Pīkari Mai for free at pikarimai.co.nz
—- This report was produced under the Public Interest Journalism initiative, funded by NZ on Air