Thursday, January 28, 2010

Israelis Caught Posing As Maori Tribesmen To Entertain New Zealand Tourists

Israelis living in New Zealand, vacationing backpackers, and trained dancers have been impersonating Maori tribesmen and performing their war chants to entertain tourists on ships arriving in New Zealand.

Instead of employing Maori, the tour company Discovery Heritage Group, based in the North Island city of Tauranga, paid resident Israelis, backpackers visiting from Israel and France and trained Israeli dancers to dress up in feathered robes, draw tattoos in pen on their faces and go aboard cruise ships when they pulled into the North Island port of Tauranga.

The tour operator's deception was caught, and it has been banned from the Port of Tauranga after rival companies complained it hired foreign workers to wear traditional Maori dress.

Writing in the New Zealand Herald, Anna Rushworth says:
Company director Terina Puriri said she employed a range of nationalities, including French and Israelis, because local Maori were not willing to promote their heritage.
Port of Tauranga commercial manager Graeme Marshall said the group was removed because of a security breach. "The representation of who came through the gate into the port did not match up with their identification."
But, even with the correct paperwork, the group may not be allowed back.
The other issues ... to be taken into account would be the authenticity of what they're representing," said Marshall, who feared the port could receive "international condemnation" if non-Maori were representing Maori culture.  Using non-Maori posing as Maori was an insult to Maori nationwide, he said.
Maoris haven't been going to war for a long time, but their fierce chant and dance has found its way onto the rugby field, where the New Zealand team, called the All Blacks, perform it at their games.  Israeli rugby players have adopted the chant.  The All Blacks name comes from the all-black uniforms the team started wearing in 1905.

If you haven't seen the Maoris perform the Haka, their traditional war dance and chant, it's worth seeing.  Following is a video clip of a performance for tourists in New Zealand.   We don't know if any of these are Israelis, but just below is another clip of Israelis practicing the Haka to scare off their opponents on a rugby field in Eilat.

1 comment:

  1. I Think Its Great! I Liked The Picture of some of those Israeli's Posing as Maori Tribesmen. I see it as a Complimement & Encouragement to our Maori People of New Zealand, after all those Israeli's are our Kinsmen too, because of our Ancestors, com'on! don't be hard on them. Gee's!Terina, I think you pulled a good job off there at the Port of Tauranga.