Monday, Dec. 15, 2008

Down (Under) and Dirty

British officials are all too familiar with Dun Mihaka. The author, activist and member of the Maori tribe first "introduced" himself to the royal family in 1981, when he mooned Prince Charles and Princess Di during a royal visit to New Zealand. The graphic gesture is a traditional Maori insult known as whakapohane, Mihaka, an advocate of Maori rights and language preservation, later said by way of explanation. He tried to ram Queen Elizabeth II's motorcade during her visit five years later, but his vehicle — a van adorned with an image of whakapohane — was anything but inconspicuous and police quickly intercepted him. Unfortunately for the Queen, they hadn't been quick enough to shield her from protesters who pelted her with eggs during the same trip. "New Zealand has long been renowned for its dairy produce, though I should say that I myself prefer my New Zealand eggs for breakfast," she later quipped.