Shock and fear went through a guest’s mind when he noticed signs at an Airbnb property in Christchurch, saying Māori is not to be spoken and not to refer to their country as Aotearoa.
Ameen Makani, had been chatting with the owner of the house for at least half an hour last weekend when he noticed three signs printed and pasted on each glass door in the living room.
The “Important Notice to Visitors” contained four rules, including ‘No Maori to be spoken on these premises’, and ‘We live in NEW ZEALAND. Please don’t refer to our country as ‘Aotearoa’.’
Makani said he was struck by fear because the Pakeha man, aged about 70, was the most unsuspecting individual.
“He’s charismatic, he’s well-travelled and he’s kind. You could strike up a conversation with this man and probably chat for hours,” said Makani, saying he found it difficult to stay composed and contain his reaction after seeing the notices.
Makani said he was taught when growing up to consider what conversations are worth engaging in and decided not to ask the host about the signs.
“What I most certainly have never seen before and never hope to again, is the absolute confidence in which this man has blatantly showcased his instructions for his guests to see.
“I made a last-minute booking on the day and he wasn’t home when I checked in. So
it makes you wonder how long these signs have really been up and do they ever come down?” the guest said about the incident.
Makani also realised a simple Airbnb complaint was not going to cut it, saying the
issue was bigger than a house being taken off a website.
Derek Nolan, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for New Zealand and Australia, said discrimination is unacceptable and has no place in our community.