Store criticised for selling 'Gollies'

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2013
gollies
AMANDA PARKINSON

TOY CONTROVERSY: Gollies (Golliwog) dolls on display at H&J Smith Department store in Invercargill.

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Invercargill retailer H&J Smith has been criticised for selling "Gollies" in its store.

But marketing manager Rebecca Sheppard says the "Gollies" have been sold at the store for the past 15 to 20 years.

The Invercargill store had displayed a collection of the dolls as a stand-alone display, but after being contacted by The Southland Times the display was changed to a mix of caucasian rag dolls and "Gollies", originally popularised as Golliwogs.

New Zealand's Inaugural Ethnic Peoples' Advisory Panel chairwoman Camille Nakhid said people did not realise what the Golliwog had come to mean.

"For many African communities, particularly African American people, these dolls depict years of denigration and public humiliation," she said.

Nakhid said New Zealanders had a global responsibility for their impact on fellow humans.

H&J Smith chief executive John Green said the item had become "vogue" again over the past four years. "The fact they have come back reflects a change in society."

But Nakhid said the people who said the dolls' resurgence in popularity was a sign of change were never the people who the caricature was aimed at.

"The hair and the lips are a caricature of a buffoon, no-one can say we have moved past that when it is still the same image of denigration being depicted."

Invercargill retailers The Warehouse, Farmers, Toyworld, Whitcoulls, Crystal Centre and Chantillys were not stocking "Gollies" when the Times visited.

Auckland Airport has forced one of its retailers to remove the dolls after they offended a visiting African American.

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- Fairfax Media

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