More than 3000 people interested in bringing Māori Santa to Wellington

A Facebook event page titled "Bring Māori Santa to Welly" has thousands of people interested.

The page has been organised in a bid to get Rob Herewini (or as he has been called in the media, Māori Santa) to appear at a community festival in Wellington as the "guest of honour".

Mr Herewini made headlines last week after appearing as a Māori version of Santa at a Nelson parade. His appearance (a red korowai and fish hook sceptre) provoked a wide range of response from the media, and people online.

The event page organisers, Lexi Taylor and Natasha Crombie say that they "were just shocked at the reaction [from the Nelson parade]. We just thought he was awesome, so we set up the page to show him a bit of support and some love. We didn't expect the reaction [the page] got".

They go on to say that "he did this for our mokopuna and he got such a backlash for it, it just really bummed us out."

"We wanted to provide a positive space for this conversation, because so much of the response has been racist. We think that our traditions are evolving, and we want to provide a space for these conversations. It's about culture, it's about Kiwi culture.

"We're innovative and we come up with new ideas, and we support each other. It's all about acceptance and diversity."

The comments from the event page set up by the two women are nothing but supportive.

"Way to go Wellington. Setting the bar"

"Good on you Wellington, great to see there are people willing to be open minding and welcome something a little bit different."

"Rob Herewini is the Māori Hana Koko. Haere mai matua. I'll even dress my kids up as Māori elves!"

"How Santa presents should not be the issue. It's the wairua. And the wairua is aroha and transcends the red coat and the beard".

Ms Taylor and Ms Crombie say that haven't spoken directly to Mr Herewini yet, but they are planning to ask him if he will attend as soon as possible.

However, they understand the difficulty of the situation 

"Fingers crossed, but we understand that it's a difficult position for him. As much as we want him [to be there] we understand he may want to focus on himself and his family".