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Moko Not Acceptable




Newshub reports;

Australian-based Maori man speaks out after being refused restaurant entry because of his ta moko

Last weekend, a Maori man living in Australia got kicked out of a restaurant because the bouncer didn’t like the look of his face.

Gary Harding is a rugby league coach and cultural adviser for Maori and Pasifika youth at a Melbourne corrections centre.

But last Saturday, his ta moko was the reason a bouncer wouldn’t let him eat at a Melbourne restaurant.

On its website, the restaurant, Village Belle, asks guests to wear neat, casual attire; but there’s actually no mention of tattoos.

Speaking to The Project from Melbourne on Friday night, Harding said the bouncer told his ta moko “wasn’t a good look”.

“It took me a couple of days to mull over the incident; think about what we’re going to do with it.

“Me and my partner had the discussion, and the whole point about putting it out there was sharing our culture to the world.

“It’s about educating people around ‘this is who we are, and we’re proud of our culture’.”

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is a well known phrase. In this instant the Aussies prove they don’t give a stuff about our special people and their culture. If it was here, the restaurant owner would be forced to pay $1,000’s to appease his hurty feelz.


  1. Gary made the decision to get the design on his face and also to raise the topic for wider discussion. All his choice. I have heard such a marking is to show who he is and his origins.

    My choice is not to do that to my face. I see it as a negative and not helpful to move through life branded in that manner. I would take him as he appears and do not need such a device to judge him one way or another. I do not need to know his background on first meeting. I’ll determine that as required by the situation.

    It may be appealing in some cultures. There are also negative cultures associated with facial or other tattoos. Many cultures do not follow the practice.

    My initial instinct on seeing it is avoidance. That is based on seeing similar patterns on individuals here who I do not wish to associate with.



  2. If it was here, the restaurant owner would be forced to pay $1,000’s to appease his hurty feelz.

    Too true mate! Thank goodness that prick is in Australia and not back here. What kind of fuckwit would deliberately disfigure himself in that revolting way and then express surprise that he’s not welcome in civilised society?

    And even worse, he’s allowed to push his shit on Maori criminals over there too. Unbelievable.



  3. Yep, there are consequences to having tattoos – facial or not.

    Try using a spa (osen) or some swimming pools in Japan and South Korea.

    One of the daughters has Shoulder/arm tattoos… she knows it is much less fuss to just wear long-sleeved tops when arriving or leaving a foreign country.



  4. I know what you’re saying, Melahi, but outside of our insular wee islands should a bouncer be obliged to discern an “ornate cultural tradition” from gang insignia? In fact what’s the difference? Isn’t the latter merely a version of the former?

    We complain when others come here and force their values on us: Harding is doing exactly the same thing to the Aussies. According to the bouncer’s culture and values, facial tattoos are offensive, aggressive, and indicate a criminal. Tough titties for Harding.



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