In a recent interview, "Thor: Ragnarok" director and sometimes actor Taika Waititi says his native New Zealand is “racist as f*ck.”
“People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Maori names properly. There’s still profiling when it comes to Polynesians. It’s not even a color thing – like, ‘Oh, there’s a black person.’ It’s, ‘If you’re Poly then you’re getting profiled.’”
The filmmaker said racism is very pronounced in the society, explaining to "Dazed and Confused" magazine that he faced blatant discrimination as a Te Whānau-ā-Apanui youth.
“I remember getting a job at a dairy and they would never give me a job at the till, I was always at the back, washing vegetables. And then one day one of the owners asked me if I sniffed glue – like, ‘Are you a glue-sniffer?’ In my head I was like, ‘Motherf......, you grew up with my mum!’ And I knew for sure that he didn’t ask other kids in the store if they were glue-sniffers.”
Waititi is known for his support for social and political causes, previously catching heat for criticizing New Zealand's dirty rivers, depression rates, teen suicide rates, housing crisis and child poverty rates, last year.
“I really cherish the memories of how I grew up, (but) it was actually pretty shit, growing up poor in the country,” Waititi added.
The director has participated in an anti-racism campaign New Zealand's Human Rights Commission, which has reported that instances of racism are on the rise in the country.
Waititi, who resides in the United States, says despite his success he is sometimes met with the backhanded compliments when he returns to New Zealand.
“People in Auckland are very patronizing. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’ve done so well, haven’t you? For how you grew up. For one of your people.’”
Waititi also directed "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" and "Boy."