Maori war veteran kicked out of pub for having traditional face tattoos

A Maori war veteran was allegedly turned away and refused service by a Perth pub – all because of his face tattoos.

Michael Barclay was visiting Hotel Windsor in the south of the city for a spot of dinner with his wife, when he asked the server for the menus so they could decide what to eat. 

The bar worker allegedly immediately turned to face the couple and said: “Sorry, I can’t serve you.. because you have facial tattoos.”

Mr Barclay claims he was “flabbergasted” and “embarrassed” by the response and ordeal, and plans to complain to the Human Rights Commission.

READ MORE: Pub shames ‘pathetic’ customers who refused to pay for food

Speaking on the Australian news programme, A Current Affair, Mr Barclay said he served in the army to protect people’s rights, and not to be “harassed for who you are”.

The traditional method of tattooing practiced by the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, is called Ta Moko.

Maori men traditionally receive a facial tattoo known as Mataora, which is a symbol of nobility, while women receive tattoos on their lips and chin called Moko kauae, which is representative of their abilities and status within their community.

Despite explaining the cultural significance of his tattoos to the bar worker who happened to be the venue’s manager, Mr Barclay said he was still refused service.

Nearby customers and onlookers dining at the same restaurant also tried to convince staff to let the couple order food, according to the war veteran, but this did not make a difference to how he was treated. 

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Hotel Windsor’s venue manager, reportedly told the couple: “Yes, we know about you Kiwis, but you still can’t stay, you’ll have to leave.”

Speaking Australia’s Nine Network, Mr Barclay said: “I served in the military … for the right to be able to walk down the street, to walk into a hotel or restaurant and not be hassled for who you are.”

After giving up hope, the couple left the premises and searched online to see the rules and regulations on the company’s website.

They were “aghast” to find that the website stated: “You couldn’t enter with facial tattoos, however, dogs were allowed on the premises.” has contacted Hotel Windsor for comment.

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