Thursday, September 24, 2009

banned moko - racist or ignorant?

We still have a fair way to go. Is this racism or ignorance?

"One of the country's leading tattooists is laying an official complaint after being turned away from a bar for having a traditional Maori moko.

He says he made it clear to the security guard that his tattoo was cultural and that he had no gang affiliations.

Kopua says the guard chose not to listen and still banned him from entering the bar.

The gentleman didn't tell our security guard that they're cultural. Cultural tattoos are not a problem inside the venue," Bourbon Bar manager Andrew Geldard says.

But Geldard understands it was a mistake and blames a lack of communication.

Kopua says he is proud of his tattoo.

"It's my heritage, where I'm from, who my ancestors were, it's everything about me," he says.

But he is not sure if racism played a role in him being banned from the bar.

"I don't know if it necessarily was racism. I think the doorman was just carrying out his duties ... I think it's ignorance," says Kopua."

I think we really need to differenciate between moko and tattoo. They are quite different things. In this country we should not be frightened by moko - we should be proud. Moko is part of our cultural heritage and i hope we get to the place where moko is honoured by all society as it is within maori society.

I think this comment from george on te karere ipurangi says it all,"

"Even the reporter of this article needs a headbutt. Tattoos????, tattoo artist??? ffsakes its Moko!

“The gentleman didn’t tell our security guard that they’re cultural. Cultural tattoos are not a problem inside the venue,” Bourbon Bar manager Andrew Geldard says.”

This claim by the bar manager is the biggest piece of racist fiction I have heard in ages. There is NO FARKEN WAY ANYONE WHO CARRIES A MOKO when confronted, would not IMMEDIATELY point out to whoever is abusing them that they in fact have a moko not a tattoo.

That aside, the one person in this country most likely to point out that this facial markings are moko not gang markings… Mark Kopua the person discriminated against. Mark is a member of several organisations that promote education on moko and is an accomplished moko artist, who was in Christchurch working in that very field…and somehow just forgot to mention to the security guard the difference between a moko and a tattoo, a moko and a gang tat?"


feddabonn said...

i think mark kopua is being *extremely generous in calling the attitude ignorance (and i respect that). it takes very basic knowledge of maori to know that moko is cultural. and yes, it really is hard to imagine that he wouldn't say that when confronted.

Marty Mars said...

Yes feddabonn I agree. The good grace shown by Mark is an example of mana.

i find it hard to believe that someone living in this country did not know the difference between a moko and a gang tattoo but stranger things have happened and we know that we still have a long, long way to go.