New Zealanders’ interpretations of a satirical public service announcement

Full APA Reference:

Hume, A., & Skalicky, S. (2023). New Zealanders’ interpretations of a satirical public service announcement. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics29(1).


The aim of this project was to measure how New Zealanders respond to satire targeting racism in New Zealand. Following Pfaff and Gibbs (1997), we conducted a study using a short satirical video called Give Nothing to Racism starring New Zealand director and actor Taika Waititi. The video features Waititi compelling New Zealanders to support racism through small, easy acts such as laughing at racist jokes, with the satirical implication being these acts are what contribute to systemic racism. Thirty-one New Zealanders watched the video and were then interviewed in order to gauge their recognition of the satirical intentions, as well as their understanding of the satirical message. Next, we informed participants about the satirical intentions of the video, who then watched the video again, and asked if they had any additional thoughts. Unlike Pfaff and Gibbs (1998), all but two of our participants recognised the satirical nature of the video during the first viewing. Like Pfaff and Gibbs, our participants provided a variety of interpretations, reflecting the indeterminate nature of satirical inference.

Keywords: satire; criticism; systemic racism; semi-structured interviews


Ashleigh Hume and Stephen Skalicky

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