A member of Denmark’s parliament has expressed offense and revulsion over the welcome she was given by New Zealand officials on a recent visit to that country. Marie Krarup described her arrival at a New Zealand military installation:
When we came to a naval base, we were not received with a handshake or salute by uniformed men as usual. No, we were welcomed with a Maori dance ritual, with a half-naked man in grass skirt, shouting and screaming in Maori. It’s a mystery to me how the poor naval officers could endure both the ceremony and the surroundings.
Denmark does not maintain an embassy in New Zealand, however, the Danish ambassador in Australia quickly moved to assuage the sudden controversy that erupted over Krarup’s remark by explaining the New Zealanders are doing the best they can.
These events as well as the specific event during the welcome ceremony referred to by Mrs Krarup reflects for me the sincere wish of the New Zealand hosts to bid me welcome in the best possible way, namely through a Maori ceremony of welcome that has been a tradition for generations.
New Zealand media have denounced the European remarks as racist.