News that a Canadian tourist has labelled a New Zealand marshmallow lolly as racist has sparked online feedback and even prompted New Zealand's high commissioner to comment in the Canadian press.

New Zealand's high commissioner in Ottawa, Kate Lackey, said she was disappointed at comments left in online forums, such as nzherald.co.nz's Your Views section.

Commenting in a story published on the website TheStar.com Ms Lackey said comments made by Kiwis suggesting the tourist should go home are not acceptable.

"I would hope New Zealanders would be a bit more courteous and understanding," Lackey said.

"I'll probably get into trouble in New Zealand for saying such a thing, but often there's a sort of 'rednecky' element... The people who get on talk-back (radio) and stuff haven't had time to think through a bit more deeply how the other person might feel."

Seeka Lee Veevee Parsons, 21, an Inuit of the Nunavut Territory in Canada, said she was shocked when she found the Eskimo marshmallows for sale last week, saying they were an insult to her people.

The word Eskimo was unacceptable in her country and carried with it negative racial connotations, she told the Taranaki Daily News.

The correct term was Inuit, Ms Parsons said. "I was taken aback. When I was a little girl white kids in the community used to tease me about it in a bad way. It's just not the correct term," she said.

Ms Lackey said she doesn't see the controversy causing a political rift between New Zealand and Canada.

"You could hardly have two countries closer together in attitudes and values than Canada and New Zealand," Ms Lackey said.

Canada's Globe and Mail carried the story yesterday.

But many of the comments left by readers on the website are opposed to the Canadian tourist's complaint.

G. Hall wrote to the Globe and Mail to say: "Too Politically Correct... Don't people have anything better to do? Like solve the financial crisis and pull us out of the global recession?"

Bart described the complaint as embarrassing.

"Wow. I wonder if living in an isolated place live Nunavut caused her to not realise that when visiting a foreign land, one needs to bring an open mind, a sense of humour, and a degree of humility. I hope this was a momentary lapse of reason on her part and that she'll realise soon how silly she looks and makes us all look."

But not all comments posted to the site were negative towards Ms Parsons.

Sandy G. said: "I didn't realise that racism was so embedded in New Zealand. I had a completely different impression of the place."

On TheStar.com website, one reader said, referring to Ms Lackey: "At least here we have a New Zealander with a little common sense, and some feeling for the pain of the non-white. Of course the name of the candy should not be changed, but that doesn't mean Veevee Parson's feelings should be ridiculed."

Another reader suggested boycotting Cadbury for not changing the name.

"Cadbury head office is not based in New Zealand, so when they see the concern they can override the decision of New Zealand's Cadbury division."