Television and written news media are working hard this afternoon to put together a series of news stories on the resignation of Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples without using some variation on the headline ‘Pita wraps it up.’
The headline, which was simultaneously coined by every news outlet late last night, has been forbidden by the editors of the New Zealand Herald, the Dominion Post, The Press, The Waikato Times, and the producers of One News and 3 News.
But journalists covering the story are reportedly struggling to stay within their guidelines, saying that while they know the pun is wrong, it’s “practically irresistible.”
“I can’t do it,” confessed Herald reporter Kate Shuttleworth. “I can’t write a story without using that pun. I know it’s forbidden, but to not use something so made for this resignation goes against every journalistic instinct and principle I have.”
Late this afternoon, 3 News political editor Patrick Gower was having an experience that many journalists could sympathise with today, repeatedly using the pun by accident while trying to prerecord his bulletin for the six o’clock news. During Gower’s closing monologue, he took a pita wrap and held it up for the camera.
“I suppose you could say, Pita wrapped it up,” he said, before gesturing to the wrap.
“No!” yelled his producer. “No! No! Cut.”
“What?” asked Gower, looking bewildered. “Did I do it again?”
“Yeah, you did it.”
“Ah shit. Okay, we’ll try that again. Someone hide the souvlaki from me.”
All day long, journalists of every stripe seemed unable to avoid the pun’s temptation, and this was especially true at this morning’s press conference, where the minister and co-leader announced his resignation.
Sharples said he did “not appreciate” journalists bringing a large number of pita wraps to the press conference and placing them on the table in front of him, such that he had to bat them out of the way before beginning to speak.
“Look, honestly guys, this is stupid,” he told a group of giggling reporters. “I’m having a bad day, okay? I’m really not in the mood for this.”
When Sharples had finished giving his remarks, he stood up and declared “That’s a wrap, guys.” The press pool erupted in uproarious laughter.
Not all were amused by the day’s pun, however. When told about it, Prime Minister John Key at first didn’t get it, saying he’d always thought his minister’s name was Peter.