A cultural mishap at a Californian zoo has been called offensive after Australia and New Zealand were mixed up at the opening of an exhibition.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park launched its Walkabout Australia experience on Friday morning (local time) with a group of Māori dancers.
The poi performance angered people who tuned into the park’s Facebook live feed, one commenting that Māori were from New Zealand, not Australia.
The zoo replied that Māori were “native” to both nations.
The response sparked heated remarks.
Commenters told the zoo Aboriginals and Māori were not the same, many said the zoo should have done some further research.
One commenter, who claimed to be a US-based Kiwi, said they were “sick of” repeated incorrect information about New Zealand culture.
They said the zoo’s justification had “offended 4.6 million New Zealanders and about 25 million Australians”.
The zoo later edited its Facebook comment and apologised for the mix-up.
“Our sincere apologies. We were given incorrect information. The various entertainment featured recently in Walkabout Australia is a preview of our upcoming event Summer Safari, which features entertainment from all over the globe. Again, our apologies.”
San Diego Zoo Safari Park animal care manager Steve Metzler said he was not made aware of comments from the public about the presence of Māori dancers at the exhibition’s opening.
He said animals were his forte but he was aware Māori were from New Zealand.
This article was originally published by Stuff.co.nz. Read the original here.
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