Maori outraged after being refused service at Perth’s Windsor Hotel over his traditional Mataora facial tattoos
A Perth pub allegedly turned away a Maori veteran, refusing to serve him because of his traditional facial tattoos.
Michael Barclay said A current affair On Tuesday, he went to the Windsor Hotel, in the south of the city, for dinner with his wife.
“We asked if we could look at the menus…and thought we’d order in,” he told host Ally Langdon.
“That’s when the bar manager turned around and said, ‘Sorry, I can’t serve you,’ and I said, ‘Why is that?’ and she said, ‘Because you have tattoos on your face.’
The traditional method of tattooing practiced by the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, is called Ta moko.
Michael Barclay (pictured) was “embarrassed” to be refused service at a Perth pub because of his traditional tattoos and plans to lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.
Mr Barclay (pictured), a “law-abiding” veteran, said he served in the army to protect people’s rights not to be “harassed for who you are”.
Māori men traditionally receive a facial tattoo called Mataora, a symbol of nobility, while women receive lip and chin tattoos called Moko kauae, representative of their abilities and status within their community.
After explaining the cultural significance of his tattoos to the person at the bar, who then identified herself as the venue manager, Mr. Barclay was still refused service.
Nearby customers, also “bewildered”, tried to convince the staff member to let the couple order food, Mr Barclay said.
“She said, ‘Yes, we know about you Kiwis, but you still can’t stay, you’ll have to leave.’
“So we left, we didn’t see anything indicating we couldn’t enter the pub because of facial tattoos, and it wasn’t until later that we took a look at the website and were stunned to discover…that you could “I can’t enter with tattoos on my face, however, dogs were allowed on the premises.
Mr Barclay said he was “stunned” and “embarrassed” by the incident, especially after taking the time to explain the cultural significance of his Mataora.
“I served in the military…for the right to be able to walk down the street, walk into a hotel or restaurant and not be harassed for who you are,” he said.
Mr Barclay said he was now considering taking the incident to the Human Rights Commission.
Mr Barclay said he was shocked to be asked to leave Perth’s Windsor Hotel, despite explaining the cultural significance of his Mataora facial tattoo.
“This is not an isolated case, I know of other Māori whose Mataoras have been questioned,” he said.
“There are many Māori who respect their right to wear Mataora and Moko kauae, and they should be allowed to behave as they please as long as they do not harm anyone and (behave) manner a socially acceptable manner.
“I’m a law-abiding veteran with no criminal history…and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”
A Current Affair has contacted the pub for comment.
The pub states on its website that facial tattoos are not permitted at any time.