Science & Tech
Tired of News About the Royal Coronation? A Māori Artist Has Created a Browser Plugin That Will ‘Switch Off the Toff’
Pikari Mai! substitutes all stories about the monarchy with Indigenous news.
If you’re sick of reading news about the Coronation of King Charles, there’s a new plug-in to block out the royal din.
It’s called Pikari Mai! and has been designed by Māori artist Hāmiora Bailey. Free to download on Google Chrome and Firefox, it substitutes all stories related to the monarchy with Indigenous news, allowing browsers to “switch off the toff,” as the website puts it.
“For Indigenous people, the fanfare and coverage surrounding the royal coronation is more than just annoying,” Pikari Mai!’s website continued. “So Tangata Whenua (People Of the Land) of Aotearoa (New Zealand) have created Pīkari Mai, a desktop-only plug-in that lets people switch off.”
The goal, aside from removing the litany of royal stories that have filled New Zealand’s media landscape in recent weeks, is to draw attention to Indigenous authors and stories. According to a 2022 study from the Massey University, Māori make up less than 10 percent of the country’s journalists.
“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?” Bailey told The Guardian.
Pikari Mai! works by scanning webpages for words and images that are connected to the royals and then replacing them with articles from Indigenous Māori outlets. It was created in partnership with ad agency Colenso BBDO in less than a week and has been promoted on billboards and the radio.
Despite the vast distance between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, King Charles III remains New Zealand’s ceremonial head of state. The Māori never ceded sovereignty to the crown and to this day, New Zealand continues to grapple with the long shadow of a violent colonial legacy. The prime minister, Chris Hipkins, who is in London for the coronation, has indicated a desire for New Zealand to become a republic, but did not see it as a current political priority.
“Celebration of the coronation perpetuates the myth that there is a single Treaty document. Tangata whenua never ceded sovereignty,” Bailey said in a statement. “We created Pīkari Mai! as a special artistic project to challenge the coronation.”
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