Politician criticises Maori welcome

Last updated 14:38 06/04/2013

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A right-wing Danish politician has mocked a Maori welcome to New Zealand, dubbing the powhiri an "uncivilised" ritual, and marae a "grotesque" mark of multicultural worship.

Marie Krarup, in an opinion piece in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, was shocked to be welcomed by a dancing, barely-clothed man, instead of a handshake or salute.

"When we came to a naval base, we were not received with a handshake or salute by uniformed men as usual," she wrote.

"No, we were welcomed with a Maori dance ritual, with a half-naked man in grass skirt, shouting and screaming in Maori."

Krarup, who was in New Zealand on a defence committee visit, said the man performed "strange rituals and poked his tongue out." 

She said she felt like an "idiot" when giving a hongi, and was relieved to catch a big kiss on the cheek by one man instead of the traditional nose touching.

When it was time to sing, Krarup said the waiata sounded like a Danish children's song about a happy ladybird. She said it was accompanied by a "kindergarten-teacher-guitar-accompaniment".

The marae, or "Maori temple", was a form of cultural self-destruction, according to Krarup.

"It was decorated with God-figures with angry faces and large erect penises," she said.

"It's a mystery to me how the poor naval officers could endure both the ceremony and the surroundings."

Krarup is a member of parliament for the Danish People's Party, which is described as a very right-wing party by political commentators.

Its goals are to protect the freedom and cultural heritage of the Danish people, and limit immigration.

Victoria University's Centre for Strategic Studies hosted a round table with Denmark's Parliamentary Committee, which included Krarup, early last month.

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- The Press

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