First those Russian ice dancers paint themselves brown to perform a “tribute” to Australian aboriginal culture and now this. A tour group operator in New Zealand has been hiring Europeans and Israelis to impersonate Maori natives for cruise ship passengers.
(‘’)Terina Puriri, director of the Discovery Heritage Group, says she had to hire Euros and Israelis because real Maori are too lazy to “promote their own heritage” (read: take pictures with cruise ship passengers for a few bucks.) “Some of our Maori are too slack to promote themselves. Some of our Maori are too lazy to get out of bed to do that,” she said.
The fakes seemed to have stopped short of blackface, but at least one performer used a marker pen to draw a Maori design on his face. On actual Maori people, such designs are normally etched into the skin by tattoo. Cruise ship passengers were charged about $3.50 to get a photo taken with the pseudo Maoris in traditional garb, who have since been banned from the ports. Seems like if you’re going to exploit the native culture to lure the tourists and their money, you better at least use real natives.