Cape Town - All Blacks wing Nehe Milner-Skudder has weighed in on a recent debate regarding a Maori Santa, calling the issue "pretty ridiculous".
The 27-year-old, who has played 13 Tests, took to Facebook to share his views on a matter that sparked a debate across New Zealand.
It came after last Sunday’s Nelson Santa Parade featured a Maori version of Santa - ditching the traditional Father Christmas outfit for a de-bearded man wearing a red korowai.
The continued discussions around the topic led Milner-Skudder to hit out at one commentator in particular, Duncan Garner. Opining on his AM Show, the broadcaster said: "Maori don't have to own everything". He thought the classic Santa should have been on the float, because "the kids weren't there to see a Maori Santa. Santa's very different to Maori".
Milner-Skudder wrote that Garner's comments were "disrespectful and disgusting".
“The main reason why I disagree with it is because I don't think Maori need to assimilate to Pakeha traditions. Santa is a white tradition and we can celebrate it in our own way that suits our culture. Conforming or assimilating to another culture is ultimately the reason why Maori culture is not as present in today’s society.
“In saying that, people like Duncan Garner and others who have commented on this matter need to be MINDFUL of the things they say. You have a platform so you can have an opinion but you don't need to make certain comments. Saying things like ‘Maori don't own everything’ is just disrespectful and disgusting really. Of course we don't own everything, it was taken at colonisation and we've failed as a country to truly understand Maori culture and in turn that means we've failed to redress those wrongs.”