23 Apr 2013

Explanation needed says Maori tourism head

7:35 pm on 23 April 2013

The head of a Maori tourism group says New Zealand, as the host nation, should take the blame for a Danish politician describing a Maori welcome as "uncivilised".

In a recent opinion piece in a Danish newspaper, Marie Krarup said she was shocked to be welcomed to the country on a recent visit by a dancing, half-naked man, instead of a handshake or salute.

She has received about 200 emails from New Zealanders, some of whom have accused her of being racist, telling her not to return to New Zealand.

Speaking during a panel discussion in Auckland, the chief executive of New Zealand Maori Tourism, Pania Tyson-Nathan, said Ms Krarup should have been told the significance of the custom before her visit.

Ms Tyson-Nathan says the tourism industry needs to make sure visitors understand the depth and strength of Maori culture.