James Hookway, Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2021
Neckties have fallen from favor in many parts of the world in recent years. Now New Zealand’s parliament has dropped them from its dress code after Maori lawmaker Rawiri Waititi took a stand against ties, calling them “a colonial noose.”
Mr. Waititi, co-leader of the Māori Party, was ejected from the legislature earlier this week after turning up without a tie. Instead, he wore a traditional pendant called a hei-tiki, which he told House speaker Trevor Mallard was “Maori business attire.”
A #NewZealand #Maori leader who was ejected from parliament for refusing to wear a necktie in the chamber said forcing him to a Western dress code was a breach of his rights and an attempt to suppress indigenous culture pic.twitter.com/vA7yVd5to7
— DD News (@DDNewslive) February 10, 2021
Mr. Mallard, who says he doesn’t much like ties himself, didn’t accept the argument at first. “I do not recognize the member, he will now leave the chamber,” he said as Mr. Waititi stood up to speak.
“It’s not about ties, it’s about cultural identity,” Mr. Waititi countered as he departed, adding to a flurry of discussion about the legacy of colonialism in New Zealand and a #no2tie trend on Twitter, before a House committee dropped the tie-and-jacket rule on Wednesday night.
Mr. Waititi, who also has a face tattoo, was first asked to leave the legislature in December after being elected earlier in the year. Like many Maori, he said he had come to view the parliament’s dress code and its requirement for men to wear a necktie as a colonial throwback to when Britain claimed the islands, and suppression of his own heritage.
Later, a house committee met to discuss whether to change the dress code. Mr. Mallard reported that the panel didn’t reach a consensus, but a majority voted to abandon the rule that males must wear them in the chamber.
“As Speaker, I am guided by the committee’s discussion, and therefore ties will no longer be considered required as a part of ‘appropriate business attire,’” he said.