In case you aren’t a regular reader of the Daily Express, an English newspaper, here is a headline from today’s edition:
Maori dancers asked to cover up to not embarrass the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The intro says:
Topless Maori dancers have been ordered to cover up so they do not embarrass the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The story follows:
Male dancers wearing grass skirts have also been told to wear pants which goes against their ancient traditions.
Kate, William and baby George fly out this weekend for the three-week tour Down Under.
Tomorrow, when they arrive in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, they will be greeted with a Maori powhiri, a ceremonial welcome with the topless dancers.
Maori expert Tredegar Hall said: “For important occasions like this the women go topless. It’s tradition but because this is a big occasion they’ll cover up out of respect so they don’t embarrass Kate and William. Usually the men do not wear anything under the piupiu, the flax skirts, but because of the high-profile guests they’ll wear black undies to welcome them.”
Kate, 32, and William, 31, are especially sensitive about the issue because Kate was devastated after being photographed sunbathing topless during a holiday in the South of France two years ago.
They were staying at a chateau in Provence belonging to William’s cousin Viscount Linley.
The couple will be greeted with the dances and a Maori ceremony in which they have to pick up a leaf, one of a minefield of customs they must negotiate.
According to tradition, if they pick the leaf up in the wrong way it could be deemed an act of war, with an international fall-out.
They will also be offered traditional food including a native bird, the kereru, which is on the verge of extinction.
Prince William is a keen conservationist who has campaigned to save the rhino and other endangered animals.
The bird and other meats or sweet potato are cooked in hot ashes in a hole dug in the ground which is covered with a lid to function as an oven.
“They cook beef, pork and chicken, and kereru if they are lucky. It is a native bird that is nearly extinct because the possums and rats go for them,” said 25-year-old Mr Hall, a New Zealand-born leader of the haka.
“The kereru is an endangered species. They will have to warn William if he’s having that.”
The titi, a sea bird from New Zealand, will also be on the menu along with local watercress called puha, fried bread balls and rewana, a Maori bread.
Kate and William have been learning the hongi nose-press greeting for when they meet the Maoris, another protocol the royal couple have to get right.
The visitor and host press noses, then breathe in. Experts warn that if they do not perform it properly and step back too quickly, it is seen as a snub.
“It’s a bit of a minefield,” admitted Mr Hall.
“This is a sign of a warm welcome. Kate and William will do it at formal welcomes. It’s quite fun but if you pull away too soon it would be pretty rude.”
“Maori expert Tredegar Hall” is possibly the Tredegar Hall whose LinkedIn profile says he is an “Immigration Officer at New Zealand Immigration” in London. Previous positions were at the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board, Waikato Regional Council and Te Arawa Fisheries. So he is a Maori and is clearly having a laugh at the gullible English. The empire strikes back, etc.
Not counting the topless women and underpants-less men, how many deliberate mistakes can you spot?
Monitor: Buddy Mikaere