Red Head radio complaint inconclusive

A ranga radio promotion by New Zealand station The Edge has generated complaints from the public who say hugging a red head, known in NZ as a ‘ginger/ginga,’ could cause psychological damage. Five people made complaints to the New Zealand broadcast regulator alleging that “Hug-a-Ginga Day” had breached broadcasting standards, but the regulator could not determine a ruling because the station did not keep the logging tapes.


One complainant considered that the promotion was derogatory, “racist, stereotypical, belittling, nasty behaviour” and that “there will be many children that have been terrified… at school. They will have suffered a taunting persecution and will no doubt be scarred from the experience of it.”

He considered it was clear that “The Edge radio station are not celebrating the beauty of red-headed people on Hug-a-Ginga day. Ginga is not a term of endearment; it aligns particularly well with the definition of derogatory… When this day was launched three years ago, it was originally under the banner of ‘Kick a Ginga’. …This was dumbed down the following year to Hug a Ginga (they’re sad).”


In a ‘dog-ate-my-homework’ defence, Radioworks claimed its logging computer was not working and that it could not provide full recordings of the offending breakfast shows. It was only able to provide an excerpted highlights package.

The cop out worked.

New Zealand’s broadcasting authority was annoyed by the fact that it could not hear the whole broadcast, but in the end had to “decline to determine the complaints,” because of the rules in the NZ broadcasting act.


Here in Australia the ABA would have imposed a penalty for failing to keep adequate logging in such a case. All the New Zealand Broadcasting Services Authority could do was express concern:

For the record, we the majority feel extremely concerned about the inadequacy of RadioWorks’ processes on this occasion. We note that RadioWorks was sent the first referral on 2 June followed by two more on 9 June. It provided us with the 5-minute compilation recording on 11 June. Having received three referrals, it still did not preserve the complete audio from the 28 May broadcast before it was apparently deleted from the test machine on 18 June. This, in our view, demonstrates a serious failure by the broadcaster with regard to the retention of tapes for the purposes of the formal complaints process, irrespective of the technical difficulties with its usual airchecker system.

To read the full complaint report, click the link below.