Topless female Maori dancers will not cover up for Prince George. British media reports claimed that the Maori would be defying traditions and wear tops as reverence for the baby royal and his parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton, but New Zealand officials don’t even think that they take off their tops in the first place.
According to the “mind-boggling” report, Maori female dancers go topless, while the men go commando under their grass skirts. But George and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are considered so important guests that the dancers have chosen to be more conservative when they honour the royals with a performance.
“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,” Tredegar Hall, a member of London-based Maori cultural group Ngati Ranana, told the British paper Telegraph.
“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.”
Mr Hall also told the Express newspaper that William and Kate would be offered tradition food from a hangi, “including a native bird, the kereru, which is on the verge of extinction.”
But Internal Affairs’ Royal Visit Office spokesman Allen Walley disproved the claims, saying no advice had been given to Maori Kiwi involved in the tour what they should wear. He expected, though, that the women would be wearing tops, while the men would be wearing underwear.
A Defence Force spokeswoman told the NZ Herald that the kapa haka group “never performed topless.”
“He’s [Mr Hall] talking a lot of rubbish that is not the case at all – that is totally incorrect. [Performances are] done with decency and taste,” Trevor Maxwell, a kapa haka expert, said, adding that he was baffled why Mr Hall would even add kereru on the royal menu.
Associate Maori Affairs Minister Chris Finlayson also slammed the report, saying that the papers were duped by the “infantile prank” set by Mr Hall, whose LinkedIn profile claims that he worked for New Zealand Immigration in London.
“It is an infantile prank at a time when Maori culture and New Zealand will be in the spotlight overseas,” Mr Finlayson added to the NZ Herald.