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Princess Cruises Apologizes For ‘Culturally Insensitive’ Greeting

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In the wake of criticism, Princess Cruises has apologized for a big cultural gaffe when it had crew members dress up as Maori and dance for guests upon docking in New Zealand on Sunday.

Passengers were welcomed onboard at the Port of Tauranga by crew dressed in grass skirts with black markings on their faces. The Maori are indigenous Polynesian people who settled in New Zealand nearly 700 years ago.

Video shows the ship’s photographer was there to take pictures of passengers with the “Maori” as they arrived, greeted with the ‘Powhiri’, a traditional Maori welcome ceremony, according to The Independent.

But it was badly botched, particularly the facial markings used by the Maori, resulting in a social media backlash.

On the popular Steve the Maori Facebook page, he wrote: “A lot of Cruise companies employ local Maori Cultural groups to sing or perform dances etc, welcoming travellers to shore but in this situation Princess Cruises (purely an assumption based off the branding of the tent) are using their own non NZ staff, with careless scribbles on their faces wearing skirts which do not depict Maori culture which I personally find a disgrace.”

Princess issued an apology almost immediately.

“We took immediate steps to address this sensitive situation,” the cruise line said. “After being made aware of the situation, the ship’s management team took action to withdraw the crew members from the area to prevent any further possibility of cultural insensitivity. We give a complete assurance that no offense was ever intended and we apologize unreservedly for what has happened.”

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