Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dear Denmark...

Stuff reports:

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. 

Marie Krarup is entitled to her views, just as we are entitled to decry them. But we reckon that she has picked on the wrong target here.

The New Zealand Defence Force has always been multi-racial and multi-cultural. Maori have given distinguished service to New Zealand. The deeds of the 28th Maori Battalion in World War 2 have become legendary. Maori such as Bruce Poananga, his brother Brian and Sir Jerry Mateparae have been inspirational leaders within the NZDF, and of course there's New Zealand's most recent VC recipient, Willie Apiata, proudly of a mixture of Maori and Pakeha descent.

That elements of the powhiri staged to honour Ms Krarup and her Danish counterparts was foreign to her is understandable; there are elements of powhiri and marae protocol which we struggle with, and we have been welcomed onto many marae. But her description of events as "uncivilised" and "grotesque" suggest a lack of willingness to even try and understand the nature of the welcome.

Some of the Danish People's Party's views on subjects such as immigration sound very familiar to those of a New Zealand political party which need not be named. We dislike xenophobia in whatever way it manifests itself.

So we say this to the Danish government; next time you send a delegation to New Zealand, please don't include Marie Krarup. Whilst her views will be embraced by a very small minority of New Zealanders, the overwhelming majority of our citizens abhor them.

7 comments: said...

"Normal" people would usually educate themselves on the norms of any country they are visiting.
I agree with your comment, please if she is unwilling to open herself to other experiences she should not be included in delegations representing her country. I can only say - what a very ignorant, uneducation individual!

Jonas Christensen said...

Please know that most Danes are shocked and horrified at Marie Krarups comments and we hope you won't think to badly of Denmark because of a few rotten eggs.

Keeping Stock said...

Thank you for your comment Jonas. New Zealand has politicians like Ms Krarup as well, and we certainly wouldn't wish them upon our Danish friends!

louraa said...

I agree with your comment.
I also don't want Denmark to be associated with Marie Krarup, and perhaps it's better for the sake of ms. Krarup's peace of mind that she is not forced to witness other cultures. So it works out for everybody.

Anonymous said...

truth hurts,all the maori's do these days is complain

BIG T said...

How ironic that the Maori elements played such an important part in NZ contributions to WW2, helping liberate Europe from the Germans whilst the Danes cowered under occupation. Maybe they can come and repay the favour if the same ever happens to us?

Also, with regards to her comments about the NZ defence policy free riding off Australia. I can only assume she is so arrogant in her beliefs that she is unable to see the parallels to her own country.

Western Europe has used NATO to free ride off the USA for a long time now. AS former Defence Secretary Bob Gates pointed out when he was retiring, the Austerity hungry Europeans have steadily decreased miliatary spending whilst enjoying the Umbrella of American protection.

Sounds like big talk from a little mouse. Why this racist troll was ever invited here in the first place is beyond me.

Valencia said...

This is cool!