“Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi slammed his home country of New Zealand in a new interview, calling it “racist as f**k” because of people’s disregard for proper pronunciation.
“It’s racist as f**k,” Waititi, who is of Māori descent, explained to British magazine Dazed. “I mean, I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it’s a racist place. People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Maori names properly.”
“There’s still profiling when it comes to Polynesians. It’s not even a colour thing – like, ‘Oh, there’s a black person.’ It’s, ‘If you’re Poly then you’re getting profiled.’”
He added that people in Auckland are particularly guilty of this behavior.
Subscribe to NextShark's Newsletter
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
In an interview with TVNZ’s Breakfast, Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy praised Waititi for his comments, saying it was “really brave leadership.”
“Good on Taika for having the courage to speak up and tell the truth. We need to understand that racism is an issue in New Zealand and what are we going to do about it.
“I think he’s being really honest. He’s showing humanity an action and highlighting an issue that he’s personally experienced. He’s championing the cause, he’s not doing it for any other reason, he believes in this and he’s experienced it himself. He’s just telling it like it is.”
Waititi, whose work in Hollywood brought pride back home, campaigned against racism last year in a tongue-in-cheek video that invited Kiwis to “give nothing” to it.
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.