Taika Waititi 'sabotaging' New Zealand - Duncan Garner

  • 10/04/2018

Duncan Garner has launched a scathing broadside at acclaimed filmmaker Taika Waititi over his latest racism claims.

The Thor: Ragnarok director labelled New Zealand "a racist place" in a lenghty recent interview - saying locals refuse to pronounce Māori names properly, Polynesians are racially profiled and he is patronised for doing well "for one of his people".

"It's racist as f**k," he told UK magazine Dazed.

"I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it's a racist place. People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Māori names properly."

But after Waititi's comments made headlines in New Zealand, Garner responded, arguing "New Zealand's not as racist as that".

"I don't agree with him," he told The AM Show on Tuesday.

"This guy... he's gone too far, it's too extreme. Lighten up, and change the record.

"Come home and re-introduce yourself to your country. It's a great little country that's not without its challenges but we're not as racist as 'F'."

It's not the first time Waititi has caused a stir. In 2017, he criticised his home country's dirty rivers, depression rates, teen suicide rates, housing crisis and child poverty rates.

His views have angered Garner, who accuses Waititi of using his high profile to denigrate Aotearoa.

"Many countries use us as the model for how to deal with indigenous issues, actually. And it hasn't held Taika back, has it?" he says.

"Stop selling us out on the international stage. There's a word for it, and it's called 'sabotage'."

The majority of respondents to The AM Show disagreed with Waititi that New Zealand is "racist as f**k".

Host Amanda Gillies says she has seen "appalling cases of racism in this country which makes me ashamed"; however, she adds it doesn't represent New Zealand as a whole.

The AM Show host Mark Richardson agrees that Waititi is taking things too far.

"Does this represent our country as a whole? And this is what this clown is doing. He's getting on the world stage and denigrating this country," Richardson says.

"Don't speak for all of us."