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Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Old Jun 5th 2011, 12:01 am
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Default Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

This morning I took our two girls, 20months and 3yrs to our local cafe for a spot of brekkie and for mum to have a lie in.

Picked a spot with a coffee table next to the toy box, so I can be near the girls whilst they amuse themselves.

I went to order some food, when I was approached by a Pakeha woman who asked "are you a visitor to NZ?"

"No, we live here" I replied.

"Then you should know, that it is considered culturally insensitive to sit on a table" and proceeded to point out my youngest had in fact sat down in the middle of the coffee table.

Usually I am a reasonable person and have no wish to offend anyone, but this woman with her air of self righteousness, immediately got my back up.

"She's 20moths old! Are you f*&^ing kidding me!" I said.

"Still you should be aware of the customs in New Zealand"

"Well we are in a cafe, not a marae, if you are offended you should look away, but I am not going to correct my kid"

And that was the end of it, apart from the odd dirty look her and her partner gave us, which I returned back in spades. But the whole episode made a nice Sunday brunch, a pretty unpleasant experience.

Now, I am aware that sitting on a table, is considered tapu, by Māori. But this was a cafe, in the middle of Marlborough and as far as I am concerned not the place where something like this should even be a issue.

The oddest thing about it, was she was a blonde Pakeha.

Luckily my wife was not there, otherwise she would have flatten her!
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 12:20 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

How very unpleasant for you.

This woman needs to remove her head from up her posterior IMHO
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 1:18 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Catchafire View Post
Now, I am aware that sitting on a table, is considered tapu, by Māori. But this was a cafe, in the middle of Marlborough and as far as I am concerned not the place where something like this should even be a issue.

The oddest thing about it, was she was a blonde Pakeha.
Whilst I can empathise with your reaction over this (I have been on the receiving end of a similar lecture although from an identifiable Maori man, and in a college classroom not a cafe), especially given your child's age, I can also see it from the other perspective. Given that you were in an environment specifically used for food consumption, and that the reason sitting on tables is tapu is related in part to the possible contamination of food I am not surprised that someone spoke to you about it.

I'm not saying that I agree with the woman, just that I can see why some people would feel the need to mention it.

Was she a member of staff or another customer? If a customer I think it could have been better handled if she raised her concerns with staff rather than directly with you - then it would be up to them as to whether they wanted to make an issue of it, it's their business afterall.

I find it interesting that you assumed she was pakeha based on her hair colour. I know several European looking people who identify as being Maori!
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 1:33 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Forget about the cultural side of it for a moment, it's downright unhygienic to sit on a table that is used for food. I'm guessing your youngest is probably still in nappies, and we all know how they can 'leak'
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 1:53 am
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Default Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

I was reported once........I was giving a lecture in Waitakere and being new to the country I pronounced it Wait-a-kerry as a POM would (I presume).

The incident was filed by a Māori lady who for some unknown reason, at that time, wielded a lot of power.

Any how I received a severe chastising from my manager and had to attend a cultural sensitivity session, actually I found it rather interesting and was glad I went, or rather was forced to go.

Some weeks later I had to attend to the woman's PC as it was running slow.

I was not surprised as it was clogged up with malware obtained from..........................pornography sites (not very nice ones either!).

I reported the incident, nothing further happened, appeared no-one, not even her manager or the head of IT wanted to challenge the woman.

I later found out that apparently she was related to one of the local tribal chiefs, I think his daughter.

Ho hum, strange old world!

Last edited by Nice Guy; Jun 5th 2011 at 1:54 am. Reason: Another spilling mistake..........
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:12 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Woodpigeon View Post
I find it interesting that you assumed she was pakeha based on her hair colour. I know several European looking people who identify as being Maori!
I agree, but to me she was definitely not a "waka blonde".
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:13 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Woodpigeon View Post

I find it interesting that you assumed she was pakeha based on her hair colour. I know several European looking people who identify as being Maori!
I had the same thought. You don't know if she was Maori or not.
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:14 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Woodpigeon View Post
Whilst I can empathise with your reaction over this (I have been on the receiving end of a similar lecture although from an identifiable Maori man, and in a college classroom not a cafe), especially given your child's age, I can also see it from the other perspective. Given that you were in an environment specifically used for food consumption, and that the reason sitting on tables is tapu is related in part to the possible contamination of food I am not surprised that someone spoke to you about it.
Possibly I can concede that, but why put a low table, right by the toy box?
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:15 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Catchafire View Post
I agree, but to me she was definitely not a "waka blonde".
huh?
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:17 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Expat Kiwi View Post
Forget about the cultural side of it for a moment, it's downright unhygienic to sit on a table that is used for food. I'm guessing your youngest is probably still in nappies, and we all know how they can 'leak'
I literally had my back turned for 20secs.

And she was wearing a pair of puddle jumpers, so even if there was a "leak" it would have stayed where it was.
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:19 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Kiwilass View Post
huh?
waka blonde" (a part-Mäori/part-Päkehä)
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:20 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Catchafire View Post
waka blonde" (a part-Mäori/part-Päkehä)
You don't know that, actually. Honestly. YOu really don't. I've known some very blonde european looking Maori in my time (self-identified as such).
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:25 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Kiwilass View Post
You don't know that, actually. Honestly. YOu really don't. I've known some very blonde european looking Maori in my time (self-identified as such).
Ok Ok! Jezz.....Maybe she was Maori and I mistakenly identified incorrectly, along with her ginger haired boy.
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:28 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Catchafire View Post
Ok Ok! Jezz.....Maybe she was Maori and I mistakenly identified incorrectly, along with her ginger haired boy.
Or maybe she was an annoying know it all sanctimonious cow....
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Old Jun 5th 2011, 2:32 am
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Default Re: Just been accused of being "culturally insensitive"!

Originally Posted by Kiwilass View Post
Or maybe she was an annoying know it all sanctimonious cow....
Regardless of ethnicity, she was all of that.
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