Authorities are investigating a “highly distressing” video inciting violence against Māori that was uploaded online.

The Herald has chosen not to detail the content of the footage, other than that it was filled with hate speech and threats against Māori people.

The Department of Internal Affairs was made aware of the video by concerned members who spotted it after it was uploaded on video-sharing site YouTube on Sunday.

The content was described as “highly distressing” by the DIA, which quickly worked with YouTube to have it removed by the next morning.

Digital safety director Jared Mullen said: “The material could well be objectionable. We will be making a submission to the Office of Film and Literature Classification to determine if the content is classified as objectionable – which will determine whether the department will take further action.”

The DIA reminded people that making, sharing or holding objectionable material is an offence under the Films, Video, Publications and Classifications Act.

“The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill will, when passed, enable the Department to provide a takedown notice rather than rely on the platform’s terms and conditions.”

Police have also been made aware of the video.

A statement from police confirmed the video had been passed on to its intelligence staff for assessment.

Racism needs to be called out – even if it's online

Internet NZ Māori chief advisor Raniera Albert praised the Māori activists and Māori in the technology community who brought the video to the attention of the appropriate authorities.

“Our role was to support those Māori champions who actually led the call for this video to be taken down.”

Albert said racism had no place on the internet – and inciting extreme behaviour online is not acceptable. Such behaviour needed to be called out, he said.

“Us, as the good people on the internet, our role is to call out that behaviour and protect the interest of wider Aotearoa.

“The stance of Internet New Zealand on this really was to… condemn the comments made by that person against Māori.”

He said tangata whenua play a vital role in the everyday life of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We are the identity of Aotearoa,” Albert said.

“Extremist behaviour has no place at all in Aotearoa.”

Anyone who believes they or someone else may be in danger is urged to contact Police and report content that they think might be objectionable through the DIA website complaints page.

additional reporting: Vaimoana Tapaleao

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