Talking out the Trash - Chris Mac discusses Australian Broadcaster comments
Talking out the Trash - Chris Mac discusses Australian Broadcaster comments
00:00 / 02:36

Six60's Chris Mac says 'moron' TV host's anti Te Reo rant made him 'mortified' as an Aussie

"To be inclusive is to use more languages, to communicate in a way that is more widely heard, you dumbass."

Chris Mac from Six60 has responded to an Aussie TV host's accusations the band's use of Te Reo "excludes half of NZ", dubbing him an "absolute asswipe" who preaches to a choir of bigots and racists. 

In case you missed it - but you probably didn't - a conservative commentator called Rowan Dean called out Six60 this week for their tour poster, written almost entirely in te reo Māori.

On his show 'The World According To Rowan Dean’ - that title tells you a lot, doesn't it? - he brought it up in a discussion about free speech, calling it "disturbing" and claiming it "excluded" the majority of Kiwis who didn't speak Māori. 

"It's so weird because he's just banging on about freedom of speech but at the same time saying we shouldn't be able use whatever the hell language we want," Mac said on this week's 'Talking Out The Trash' podcast. 

"So he undermined his own premise immediately." 

Not only did Rowan misname Six60 "Sixty Sixty or whatever", he falsely claimed there was "not a word of English" on the poster (there was) and said NZ was pushing for Te Reo to become "almost a national language" (it already is one). 

"He reads a teleprompter for a living - the guy can read - and he's saying 'oh I can't read this mow-ree (Māori) stuff'. The only thing on there on there in English is out band name and he couldn't even get that right," Chris said.

"Someone sent the clip of Dean to our manager and he sent it through to me, just poking fun at first, like, 'aren't you Australians idiots?'," he added.  

"But then we thought we should say something. People always say 'ah, you're just preaching to the choir anyway', but he has this choir, and he's preaching to them, making them stronger and making them go 'yeah that's right, damn all the minorities'. 

"That builds up their strength and their muscle to be racists and bigots," Chris continued. 

"So we thought, 'we've got our own choir that we could be beefing up and we could strengthen them'. So that's kind of what we wanted to do - preach to our choir." 

Six60's comedic and compassionate response included clips of them singing the Māori language version of ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots’ - ‘Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō’ - and featuring the Ngā Tūmanako kapa haka group performing the powerful ‘Ka Mate’ haka to a sold-out crowd at Western Springs Stadium. 

"It certainly wasn't the first draft that we wrote," Mac laughed. 

As well as championing Te Reo in their waiata and involving Māori performers in their shows, Six60 invited indigenous mobs from each region to be a part of their Australian tour earlier this year. 

This was particularly meaningful for Mac, who grew up in Darwin, Australia, where he played drums for indigenous artists in the early part of his career. 

As an Aussie himself, Mac said he was "mortified" by Dean's comments, but "not entirely surprised". 

"It's worth noting that this is a particular kind of asshole. This isn't indicative of all Australians across the board," he said. 

"It has been a very racist country for a long time, it is a racist country and it is trying to get better. There's a lot more representation now,  which is really cool, but it takes time." 

"There's a small section of people who still want to be outrightly racist - and to be fair, sometimes it's just people who are afraid of change and don't know any better." 

Dean refused to apologise for his comments when questioned by 1News, insisting he had already contacted Six60 and invited them on his show - but Mac said that wasn't the case. 

"No, I haven't seen anything about that, and I also don't see the point [of going on his show]. We're so diametrically opposed," he said. 

"He's not going to change, because I'll tell you what wouldn't get him ratings, is him changing. 

People tune in for that kind of bullshit. It's performative on his end anyway - he knew how to say our name. He was so performatively befuddled." 

Meanwhile, Mac said the band had been massively encouraged by the support they've received, and have gone a step further by offering special "Sixty Sixty Or Whatever" tickets to their upcoming shows at a reduced price of $60.60c. 

"I wouldn't listen to K Pop and be like 'well this is just rude', it's like no, this is their language, you moron," Chris added. 

"To be inclusive is to use more languages, to communicate in a way that is more widely heard, you dumbass. 

"We can only work on ourselves, we can't change other people but we can us and help the people around us."  

Listen to the full episode of Talking Out The Trash here: