Mai FM's Tegan Yorwarth and Jordan River break down in tears on-air addressing racist Magic Talk call with John Banks

Mai FM hosts Tegan Yorwarth and Jordan River broke down in tears discussing a racist conversation held by Magic Talk fill-in host John Banks earlier this week in which Māori were called "Stone Age people". 

The Mai Morning Crew addressed the controversy on Thursday morning, saying they "felt sick" and had their "breath taken away" by the racist rant. 

"It was a horrible thing to say about Māori. I'm upset," an emotional Yorwarth began. 

"It made me sick to hear that was on radio. This is a platform that we really hold dearly to our hearts and we try to be inclusive and represent our community," she added through tears.

Later, River concluded the korero by saying: "I'm so proud to be Māori," his voice wavering with emotion.

A caller named Richard spoke to Banks on Tuesday morning, claiming Māori were "victims of their own genetic background" and predisposed to "crime, alcohol and underperformance educationally". 

Banks then responded that the caller's children should "get used to [Māori] Stone Age culture because if their Stone Age culture doesn't change, these people will come through your bathroom window." After issuing an apology in which he claimed he "didn't pick up" on the caller's racist remarks, Banks was taken off air the next day. 

"When you hear these things, it takes your breath away a little bit," River said of the call. 

"What's hard about this for me personally is - it really highlights for me the importance of why Māori history needs to be taught in schools. 

"For a caller to be that confident to ring up and spit that kind of rhetoric clearly shows how misinformed he is about Māori culture." 

River added that he was encouraged to see people of all cultures in the younger generation doing the mahi to bring Te Reo Māori into their everyday lives, to respect and understand the culture, including the show's producer Ryan Foster.  

"[Because] these dinosaurs with their dinosaur as ideas, they're hard to turn," River said. 

Yorwarth also referenced Banks' apology, in which he admitted he made "generic negative statements about Māori people and practices that could have been misconstrued as racist" but insisted he was not racist himself. 

"That's the problem there," Yorwarth said. 

"Is that casual racism was so normal for him. He needs to unlearn that," she continued, adding that Banks should have someone explain to him why what he said was "so harmful and so disrespectful in so many ways". 

"For anyone who was hurt by those comments - we're hurting with you, but we're a whanau," Yorwarth said.