Maori man kicked out of pub for having face tattoos

Maori man kicked out of pub for having face tattoos
New Zealand Maori leader ejected from parliament for refusing to wear 'colonial …
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A Maori man was refused service and kicked out of a pub for having traditional cultural tattoos on his face.

A pub in Perth, Australia is accused of refusing service to the Maori war veteran from New Zealand after he and his wife tried to have dinner at their establishment.

Speaking to A Current Affair, Michael Barclay explained that they had visited the Hotel Windsor in southern Perth.

He explained: “We asked if we could look at the menus ... and thought we would order.

“It was at that stage that the bar person then turned around and said, ‘sorry, I can’t serve you’, and I said, ‘why is that?’, and she said, ‘because you have facial tattoos’.”

In Maori culture, these tattoos are known as Tā moko and are a tradition dating back thousands of years among the indigenous populations of New Zealand to symbolise their heritage.

The facial tattoo is known as Mataora and is a symbol of nobility. It has special significance as, in Maori culture, the head is the most sacred part of the body.

Barclay claimed he explained the cultural significance of his tattoos to the venue’s manager, but was still refused service at the Perth hotel.

Other “taken aback” patrons tried to step in and convince the manager to let them order food, but they were continually refused.

Barclay said: “[The manager] said, ‘yes, we know about you Kiwis, but you still can't stay, you’ll have to leave’.

“So we left, there was nothing we saw stating we couldn’t enter the pub because of facial tattoos, and it wasn't until later that we had a look on the website and were aghast to find ... that you couldn’t enter with facial tattoos, however, dogs were allowed on the premises.”

The incident left Barclay feeling “embarrassed” and “flabbergasted”, especially after having explained the tattoo’s importance.

He continued: “I served in the military ... for the right to be able to walk down the street, to walk into a hotel or restaurant and not be hassled for who you are.”

Barclay explained he is now considering whether to take action and go to the Human Rights Commission about what occurred.

“This is not an isolated case, I know of other Maori who have had their Mataoras questioned,” he revealed.

“There’s a lot of Maori out there who are taking on board their right to wear Mataora and Moko kauae, and they should be allowed to conduct themselves in the way they see fit as long as they’re not hurting anyone and [behaving] in a socially acceptable way.

“I’m a law-abiding ex-veteran with no criminal history at all ... and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”

indy100 has contacted The Windsor Hotel for comment.

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