Princess Cruises apologizes after accusations of the “racist” Maori-inspired ceremony in New Zealand

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A spokesperson for Princess Cruises has apologised for the “cultural insensitivity” after a picture of a welcoming ceremony were being blasted as “racist” on social media, especially because of the people in the ceremony were dressed in traditional Maori attire, in spite of the non-members of the indigenous group.

On Monday, guests will be traveling on Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess ‘ ship, and were welcomed on board at the Port of Tauranga in New Zealand, and a group of non-Māori men to wear “rough-skirts”, with “scribbles” all over their faces, and the New Zealand Herald reports. The men are said to have posed for a photo with the Golden Princess, passengers, and made as if to perform a pōwhiri ceremony, or a traditional welcoming ritual of the New Zealand’s indigenous people.

A spokesperson for Princess Cruises has apologised for the “cultural insensitivity” after a picture of a welcoming ceremony were being blasted as “racist” on the social media.
(Steve the Maori/Facebook)

A Facebook user identified as Steve the Maori people, quickly shared images of the scene on social media, and the post has since gone viral, with more than 1,400 shares and 1,300 comments. The description of eyes as “clear,” Steve asserted that, Princess Cruises will most likely have had their own members of staff dressed in a Maori-inspired outfits in a bid to save money as opposed to hiring a local Maori group, for the creation of the reception of the guests on-board the ocean liner.


Guests traveling on Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess ‘ ship at the Jan. 2 is joined to the side of the boat in the Port of Tauranga in New Zealand, and a group of non-Māori men to wear “rough-skirts”, with “scribbles” all over their faces.
(Steve the Maori/Facebook)

“Many of the cruise ships, travelling to new zealand ports, including the Port of Tauranga, to opt for a traditional Maori Welcome (Powhiri) to welcome the 3000-plus guests,” Steve wrote.

“A lot of the cruise companies are in the service of a local Maori cultural group singing, or performing, of dancing, etc., etc. welcoming travelers to the mainland, but in this situation, ” Princess Cruises (just an assumption based on the brand of the tent, with the help of their non-new zealand staff, with the careless scribbles on their faces, [and] the wearing of skirts, which do not represent Maori culture, which, personally, I think that’s a shame,” he speculated.

“I think it is quite unfortunate to be enticed to lie to the guest, in a racist attempt to save money on local artists, This practice should be discouraged,” he concluded.

Echoing similar feelings, a Maori cultural adviser to Karaitiana Taiuru said that he thought that the social media posts to be so offensive, that at first he thought it was a joke.

“It’s blatant racism, and the exploitation of the Maori culture as well as the staff of the company. It is debasing, and there is no excuse for such behavior at the present time, where different actions in the media, and criticized for,” Taiuru said the Herald.

“Anyone with a basic knowledge of the English language, with access to any sort of media, whether it be a newspaper, radio or the internet, you need to be aware of its offensiveness,” he said. “There is absolutely no excuse for an international company to work in New Zealand.”


Take a picture of the Golden Princess cruise ship.
(Princess Cruises)

In the meantime, a spokesman for the Port of Tauranga, described the incident as “unacceptable” and stated that the port had no responsibility for the event.

According To The,new zealand, Tauranga, Mayor of Tenby Powell, said that a lot of people have called him a “very, very, very genuine concerns” of the incident.

“If the facts are as I understand it, it shows a complete lack of cultural awareness,” said Powell. “It’s clear that we’re delighted to welcome the cruise ships and the visitors, but we are expecting it to be a genuine and warm welcome.


When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises apologized for the “cultural insensitivity” on the issue.

“We have to take immediate steps to address this sensitive situation. After you have been made aware of the situation, the ship’s management team to respond to the pull of the members of the crew are from the area, in order to avoid further the possibility of cultural resistance,” a representative told Fox News on Tuesday. “We will give you a full peace of mind that there is no criminal offence was ever intended and we apologise unreservedly for what has happened.”

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