Kate Hawkesby: Banning kids from cafes won't solve the problem

Kate Hawkesby ,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 5 December 2018, 8:09AM


I'm not sure what's going on in Nelson at the moment, but if you're a Māori Santa, or a child, it must be pretty rough right now.

Māori Santas are not welcome, and neither - in at least one cafe - are kids.

Abbey Road Burgers, Bar & Cafe has had a ban on kids in place for two months. It's been a huge success, the owner says.

So much so, they have no plans to change it: in other words, kids are banned for the forseeable.

The owner claims customers are happy with the ban, and that it's only in place because Kiwi kids are not educated enough - and he blames the parents.

He reckons 80 per cent of Kiwi kids don't know how to behave when eating out.
The owner of the cafe is French, he's a father of two children, but, he says, his kids know how to behave.

He says there's a cultural difference in how our kids are raised - European children know how to behave in cafes, whereas Kiwi kids don't.

So no one under 12 is welcome at his cafe. Controversial? Yes.
But has it worked? He says yes.

No longer does he have to put up with useless parents letting their kids roam free and wreaking havoc all over his premises, breaking glasses, damaging menus, and getting up to all sorts of other dastardly deeds.

So if our children are as uneducated as he says, and if they don't know how to behave at a cafe, then how will they ever learn if they're not allowed in one?

Does banning them help educate them? I doubt it.

He makes a fair point that sitting down to meal times with your kids is a good start. Teaching them to behave at home would be an obvious first step to teaching appropriate cafe behaviour. But is banning them not demonising all kids, thanks to probably a handful of badly behaved ones?

Likewise, is having a Māori Santa the end of the world and reason for vitriolic debate and abuse?

If you are that offended by a Māori Santa, then maybe you need to address why it upsets you so much. It was an attempt at multi-culturalism, it backfired, no one died.

Facebook users defended the parade for using a Māori Santa without the traditional Santa kit. Photo / via Facebook
Facebook users defended the parade for using a Māori Santa without the traditional Santa kit. Photo / via Facebook

Yet a grovelling apology from the local council ensued, with a promise to return to a white man in a red suit with a white beard next year.

So a big week for Nelson: you have your kid-free cafe and your non-Māori Santa for next year's parade to look forward to.

Hopefully that'll keep the locals happy.

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