British nurses branded ‘racist’ for video performing traditional Maori dance in face paint and head tapenews

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Wednesday 22 April 2020 09:30
news

For the most part there’s been an unconditional outpouring of support for UK healthcare workers during the Covid-19 crises.

The public has recognised they’re under huge amounts of pressure and stress thanks to fears concerning a lack of protective equipment, long hours and a brand new virus to fight.

But one group of nurses have now come under fire after a misguided attempt to lift spirits via a performance of the sacred Māori dance, the haka.

The now-deleted video went viral on Twitter after being posted by NHS workers from the Tavistock Day Case Theatre in England.

In the 36-second clip, nurses wearing white headbands and black face paint hold up pictures of a Covid-19 molecule before performing a version of the Ka Mate haka.

At one point a nurse steps forward holding a piece of hospital equipment and screams:

This is the message we wish to affirm, you’ll never beat us, we hate you, you germ. 

Together we’ll triumph with the strength from within. 

Mankind will destroy you, mankind will win.

But the video didn’t go down well, with many calling it “offensive”.

Māori cultural advisor Karaitiana Taiuru told Newshub that the clip was “absolutely offensive and degrading”.

"There is no reasonable excuse why any semi-educated person with access to the internet, from anywhere in the world, to not know that mocking another person's culture is offensive," he said, suggesting it could be a violation of the Haka Ka Mate Attribution Act of 2014.

This is blatant cultural abuse that is verging on being racist.

There appears to be a fixation with many people in the UK with Māori culture and what appears to be an inherited colonial perceived right to appropriate Māori culture with marketing of food and beverages and more so in particular to mocking the Haka. 

His words were supported by the re-emergence of another video of UK healthcare workers performing a moderated haka that had been uploaded just days before.

Radiographers at Torbay Hospital posted a video showing themselves dancing to audio from a Ngāti Toa haka, explaining the purpose was to “[get] hyped for another shift fighting Covid-19”.

Although right-wing commentators like Paul Joseph Watson and ‘satirical’ Twitter character Titania McGrath poked fun at the outrage, others didn’t agree.

Some requested the workers “stop this for us”.

Others called it “bizarre”.

Another person said “if you aren’t Māori, you shouldn’t be doing it”.

Let's take the haka off the morale-boosting agenda and stick to rainbow drawings...

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