A member of the Maori Party in New Zealand refused to comply with the obligation to wear a tie in Parliament – thus not only bringing about a change to the existing rules, but also sparking a debate on social networks.
Rawery Waititi appeared Tuesday without a tie because the dress code is still from the colonial era, as the politician with the traditional tattoo of the face wrote on Facebook: “I took off the colonial tie as a sign that they have continued to colonize pent-up Maori rights.”
Instead, he showed himself with Hei-Tiki, the typical carved Maori ornament worn around the neck. Speaker of Parliament Trevor Mallard fired him for losing the tie from the room. “It’s ridiculous to be asked to leave Parliament because I want to wear a Hei-Tiki as a cultural work uniform,” Waititi wrote on Twitter. “Hei-Tiki is the link that I choose, it binds me to my ancestors, my country and my people.”
He was back on Wednesday, again with a Maori necklace. This time, Mallard let him go, saying that a committee would look into the matter that evening. This finally spoke in favor of permitting work clothes from cultures other than British tradition. Mallard said the decision was not unanimous, but that it was taken by a majority. Since then, a heated discussion on this topic has erupted in social networks under the hashtag # no2tie.
After Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won elections last fall, New Zealand’s parliament is more diverse than ever. Maori Foreign Minister Nanaya Mahuta. Ardern showed himself in 2018 to dinner at Buckingham Palace in London wearing a kahu huruhuru – a Maori feather coat.
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