May 17, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori Bar patron ejected for moko – Press

2 min read

A Christchurch bar has come under fire for allegedly ejecting a customer because of his moko.

But Parklands Tavern and Woodpecker Restaurant, which reopened last Wednesday following a major refurbishment, says the incident was in no way a matter of race.

On Saturday, Tunahau Kohu went to the Inwoods Rd bar with his partner.

He said he was approached by a member of staff as he sat down to watch Australia play Russia in a Rugby World Cup match at 3.30pm, and was told to leave because the business did not allow people with facial and neck tattoos on site.

Ta moko is a traditional Maori tattoo, a visual language that connects the wearer to their whakapapa (genealogy).

Kohu said he had bought a drink, and played the pokie machines before the game.

”They said it is their policy that they don’t allow people with facial tattoos. I tried to explain that my moko isn’t a facial tattoo – every line and circle has a meaning to it.

”They said if I didn’t leave they would ring the police. They weren’t interested in my explanation of what it meant.”

However, manager Allan Forsdick hit back at claims of racial discrimination, which had been posted on the bar’s Facebook page.

Following recent refurbishments Forsdick said he, and owner Louis Vieceli, had tightened the dress code, meaning nobody with facial or neck tattoos would be allowed into the establishment.

He said “two or three people with facial tattoos were also asked to leave” the premises on Saturday.

”This is not a racial issue. This is about making our premises and our environment be one that is welcoming for all clientele.”

Forsdick said that Kohu became aggressive when asked to leave, and did not explain the significance of his moko, prompting a number of regular customers to leave.

Had Kohu made that clear, ”we would have taken that into consideration”, Forsdick said.

New Zealand Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson said “bars are entitled to eject anyone they wish, although it can’t be based on ethnicity, gender or disability”.

Asked whether mokos should be treated like regular facial tattoos in bars where there were policies against facial tattoos, Robertson said there were several factors that needed to be considered.

“It does depend. It depends on the nature of the moko, its authenticity and whether there were other issues involved.”

He said he did not know enough about this incident to comment specifically on it.

8 thoughts on “Maori Bar patron ejected for moko – Press

  1. I am a Kenya born Indian living in UK. I do not accept such a lame excuse as a ban of people with facial tattoos or Ta Moko (incidentally it is the first time I have heard of Moko), particularly in a land where the ethnics wear such markings as part of their culture.

    It is unacceptable and should result in closure of the establishment.

    Long live your culture dude and you are welcome in my home anytime.

  2. This hotel’s policy certainly smells of “RACISM” and their need for an explanation for the nature and authenticity of the Moko does bear some consideration as a Moko is meant to identify a persons rights by way of being a direct descendant from a Rangatira.
    However a Policy to ban Ta Moko is extremely Racist because it simply discriminates against customary beliefs and practices

      ae Joe tika tau
      Should Ta Moko be seen in Hotel Establishments or any other places that dont belong to our tikanga surely the beauty lie amongst our own people and people wearing Ta Moko be a symbol of role models for our rangatahi to look up too not one of anger and whawhai If you choose to wear a Ta moko model pride and understanding towards others for our people to be proud to have known you

  3. It is in every way a matter of race and Bruce Robinson and Co. need their heads examined as they are setting a very dangerous presidence to staunch out Maori tolerance. Ka Mate! Ka Mate!

  4. Thats crap!That is pure discrimination! We should not have to educate people in New Zealand about Ta Moko..the staff new exactly what it was! the patrons did too, and they didn’t like it because his Whakapapa were in their face! The Human Rights better bet behind him,This incident needs to be taken seriously, Maori are not being treated fairly and forums like this need to get that out there as well as the contributors on this media outlet and Tautoko him.

  5. kia ora
    all i can ay really is. aroha mai cuz. sorry this happen to you, reading this really pisses me off. especially because nzealanders in general have no problem saying that they are from NZland and that their home is the home of maori, the home of the all blacks and they will exploit it to the max, But as soon as something becomes too MAORI for them they run for the hill’s cause they don’t want to stick to the Kawa or tikanga of the matter……………little do they know is that kawa and tikanga are the very foundation of who we are……….your moko brather is everything bro never lose who you are…. you have that moko for a reason, most of us know that if you meet a person that is fortunate to have a moko you probly will not see the marks on thier fac,e instead what you will see is the mana that shines through them, i have met many whanau with tamoko and they are they most beautiful people i have had the previlage of knowing, the moko is the last thing you see, because when you speak to a person who is wearing a moko the first thing that you see is the personality and only then you see their moko but only because they are one in the same, tautoko you mana hardout… stay true, stay hard, if your up these way i know we all champin at the bit to SHOUT YOU A ROUND or better lets go for a fish!

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