Massey University Sociologist Dr Paul Spoonley says there is no doubt that there are elements of racism in New Zealand.
His comments come in the wake of Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi’s comments labelling New Zealand "a racist place".
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Are we as racist as other countries? That's another question.
“It’s not quite how I’d put it, but, yes, there are plenty of examples of racism in New Zealand. It goes from the quite minor to sometimes, the quite major. Are we as racist as other countries? That’s another question.” Spoonely told RadioLIVE.
In a lengthy recent interview Waititi was quoted as saying locals refuse to pronounce Māori names properly, Polynesians are racially profiled and he is patronised for doing well "for one of his people".
"It's racist as f**k," he told UK magazine Dazed and Confused.
"I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it's a racist place. People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Māori names properly."
It's not the first time Waititi has caused a stir. In 2017, he criticised his home country's dirty rivers, depression rates, teen suicide rates, housing crisis and child poverty rates.
Dr Spoonley says perhaps Taika Waititi needs to be asked exactly what he meant.
“I suspect he’s a very loyal New Zealander, who is very positive about the country and the invitation should be for him to explain what he means - not in a defensive way.”
Listen the full interview with Paul Spoonley above.