Saturday, September 03, 2005

Powhiri vs Handshake.

Here's another piece of trivia that slipped under the radar on the campaign trail last Thursday. September the first was noted for the PM's encounter with the ascerbic wit of an Air New Zealand pilot and that's what dominated the headlines that day. What didn't, and what possibly could have were these comments made my National Party leader Don Brash in a radio interview in Christchurch.

Below is a transcript of part of his interview with local Newstalk ZB Host Mike Yardley.

PRESENTER: What about the haka before an All Black rugby test? Is it a good look?

BRASH: I'm very comfortable and relaxed about that. I'm more relaxed about that than I am about some of the official welcomes that foreign visitors get. They must what wonder kind of country they get when the only official welcome they have is? is a Maori New Zealander jumping around half naked. I mean, I think there is a place for Maori culture but why is it that we always use a semi-naked male, sometimes quite pale-skinned Maori, leaping around in, you know, mock battle?

PRESENTER: So next time Her Majesty comes to see the dominion, if you are prime minister, will you spare her a powhiri?

BRASH: I think, as I say, there is a place for powhiri. I guess what I'm really saying is we surely need some other ways of greeting visitors?


PRESENTER: Like how?

BRASH: ?only powhiri. Well, I mean, European culture has got lots of traditional ways of welcoming visitors. A powhiri is a particularly Maori way of doing it?


BRASH: ?and there certainly is a place for that.

PRESENTER: But what would you do instead? A handshake or what?

BRASH: I think in many cases a handshake or a? an honour guard or something is all that's appropriate.

PRESENTER: Okay, we'll take a break. [programme break]

Now I'm sure there are many New Zealanders out there that may agree with the sentiment but it does seem an unusual thing for a politician to say. You can only buy trouble making comments such as these. One wonders why he'd take the risk?

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