Affirming Pakeha identity… this from the Auckland T-shirt company, Mr Vintage who came up with the genius “Blame it on South Auckland” t-shirt in 2008.

Manukau councillors seeing red over ‘bad rap’ T-shirts
New Zealand Herald (11 December 2008)
By Beck Vass

An Auckland clothing company has upset some Manukau City officials by selling a T-shirt which they believe plays on the “bad rap” associated with South Auckland.

Mr Vintage, an online clothing store which specialises in T-shirts, is advertising a sale on a T-shirt which contains an image of a row of power pylons and a person tagging a train, that reads: “South Auckland … just blame it on them.”

The company says the T-shirt is a shot at “the pesky folk that call themselves the ‘media” who are “always pretty quick to jump on any link of criminal activity with South Auckland”.

But Manukau City’s Otara councillor, Efu Koka, said he did not believe the company and was “not happy” the shirts portrayed South Auckland as a bad place.

“It’s really utilising the bad rap that South Auckland has to profit from.”

Manurewa councillor Daniel Newman agreed.

He said if the “bad taste” T-shirt was a dig at the serious crimes that have hit headlines in South Auckland, then it was really Wellington that was to blame because that was where politicians and the police commissioner made decisions that left South Auckland with some of its social problems and understaffed police.

 Councillor Dick Quax said the shirts were “grossly unfair”.

“I guess what they’re trying to say is if anything bad happens anywhere in the country, it should be blamed on South Auckland … There’s lots of things that happen all over the country but there’s also many, many good things that happen in South Auckland. It’s a bit dopey really.”

Manukau Mayor Len Brown was not particularly concerned by the T-shirts, calling them “just plain silly”.

“We may well be shaken, but not stirred really. It doesn’t do a hell of a lot for me.”

Mr Vintage managing director Rob Ewan said: “There’s no way this is supposed to offend any residents of South Auckland, it’s just a shot at the media really.”

Mr Ewan, who is from Papatoetoe, said half his staff were from South Auckland and had lived there for most of their lives.

The company had received about 10 emails from customers “not really understanding where we’re coming from” with the slogan.

The South Auckland shirt was not the company’s most popular T-shirt but was “definitely generating the most interest”.

Following a phone call from Mr Newman, Mr Vintage will be donating some of the proceeds from the sale of the T-shirt to the Randwick School Park gala to put the money back into the South Auckland community.

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