Non-Maori performing powhiri labelled a ‘disgrace’

Image: Steve the Maori Facebook page.

A viral Facebook post has gotten people up in arms about a cruise liner and them providing their own staff to perform a powhiri.

‘Many cruise ships when travelling to NZ ports, such as the Port of Tauranga opt to have a traditional Maori welcome (Powhiri) welcoming the 3000 plus guests,” says the post by the Steve the Maori Facebook page.

“A lot of cruise companies employ local Maori Cultural groups to sing or perform dances etc, welcoming travellers to shore but in this situation Princess Cruises (purely an assumption based off the branding of the tent) are using their own non-NZ staff, with careless scribbles on their faces, wearing skirts which do not depict Maori culture which I personally find a disgrace.”

Steve – who is behind the Facebook page – told SunLive he didn’t wish to comment further on the topic as the observation of this happening wasn’t initially his.

The Facebook post has received 2.5k likes, 1.2k comments and 1.3k shares.

“This is how the world will see Maori culture if this continues…it’s not only a mockery but distasteful and disrespectful,” says one commenter.

Bay of Plenty NZ Facebook page has also commented on the post saying: “Tourism Bay of Plenty shares the community’s concern. We are working with the New Zealand Cruise Association and have escalated this to the cruise line. We work closely with local iwi and hapu to create opportunities for manuhiri (visitors) to experience authentic Maori culture in Tauranga Moana and the wider Bay of Plenty. Tourism Bay of Plenty supports and acknowledges the right of local iwi and hapu to welcome and farewell cruise visitors.”

SunLive has contacted the cruise line Princess Cruises and is yet to receive a response.

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