Auckland Council pulls public pool signage after racism accusations

Auckland Council pulls public pool signage after racism accusations
Photo credit: Facebook/Tamati Coffey.

Auckland Council has pulled signage from public pools in response to a backlash over perceived racism.

A sign, which was part of a wider campaign to stop 'code browns' in public pools, shows a small Caucasian child warning a Maori child called Hemi to go to the bathroom before swimming.

Labour MP Tamati Coffey told Newshub he came across an image of one of the signs and it "didn't sit right".

"My gut feeling was - did it have to be the little brown boy?"

He said the Council could've done better to create a sign that had the same meaning but in a different context.

Auckland Council said they have pulled the sign in question from various Auckland locations.

Auckland Council pulls public pool signage after racism accusations
Photo credit: Facebook.

Auckland Council's General Manager for Sports and Recreation Mace Ward said the characters in the signs were designed to appeal to young Aucklanders and reflect a diverse population.

"This particular sign was part of a series and it was not our intent to upset anyone."

Comments on Mr Coffey's Facebook post on the signs expressed their disappointment, saying it was culturally insensitive.

"Why don't they just have a sign that says 'Please use the toilet before swimming'," suggested one Facebook user.

Mr Ward apologised for any offence caused and said the Council would be taking a look at the whole campaign.

Auckland Council could not yet confirm how many pools the sign was displayed at.

Among the campaign was another, longer sign that went on to reverse the roles, showing the Caucasian girl defecating in the pool and Hemi telling her to let the lifeguard know.

Newshub.

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