Author Olivia Pierson next to Nanaia Mahuta
NZ foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta

A New Zealand retail store, the Mighty Ape pulled out books written by Kiwi author, Olivia Pierson after she wrote nasty remarks about the country’s incoming foreign minister’s tribal facial tattoo. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, recently introduced a diverse group of ministers to the public.

In fact, part of the line up is Nanaia Mahuta, the first Maori woman to hold the position. 

On Monday, Pierson called Mahuta’s facial tattoos “ugly,” “uncivilized,” and unpolished.  

In another tweet, she claims the Prime Minister “has gone full wokelette on stilts.”

Her tweets earned her backlash and the loss of a chance for her book to be featured in one of New Zealand’s major online retail stores. 

Moreover, Twitter user replied to Pierson and called her out for advocating “racism.” 

The user also mentioned the social media account of Mighty Ape to ask them to consider taking out her books from their store. 

The following day, the online retail store replied and said it has already “made the book unavailable.”

In addition, the retail store shared they don’t have plans of making the book available again. 

Raising Positive Awareness on Maori Culture 

Aside from being the first Maori woman to become a minister, she’s also the first one to wear her tribe’s traditional tattoo while in the parliament. 

Four years ago, Mahuta started wearing moko kauae. According to the Guardian, Maoris usually bestow this sacred facial tattoo to high-ranking Maori women.

The facial tattoo also reflects a Maori woman’s standing or power in the community. 

In 2016, Mahuta told the Guardian, her “moko is a statement” of an identity. 

Previously, the foreign prime minister said she wanted to destroy negative associations of a facial moko with gangs in New Zealand. 

In fact, since she got her facial tattoo, Mahuta observed there are more positive responses and discussions about the Maori culture and traditions in the country. 


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