A central North Island school has cancelled its play after it copped backlash about the production being racist.

Tongariro School had planned to put on a performance of The Toy Soldier, which features an Asian character called Ting Ling whose lines include: "Pimply the poy solyah?"

However, board of trustees chairman Kiley Millar tonight confirmed the play had been pulled after a photo of one of the script's pages was uploaded to Reddit but refused to comment further.

The photo, which has since been deleted, incensed some of the website's users.


One poster, who goes by the username petite-vest, said the forced accent and mispronunciation was "egregiously racist".

Another, harlorsim, wrote: "This is disappointing ... And likely if the kids had a choice they probably wouldn't want to do that".

The Reddit user who started the thread called it "casual small town racism".

The post comes after Hollywood director Taika Waititi, who is Māori, called New Zealand "racist as f***".

"I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it's a racist place. People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Māori names properly," he said during an interview with musician Ruban Nielson for Dazed and Confused last month.

Kiwi historian Dr Scott Hamilton backs up Waititi's claims in his new book called Ghost South Road.

"During the 20th century, Māori suffered from a range of policies that remind me of apartheid South Africa," said Hamilton.

"If you were Māori you sometimes needed a special card to move around the country. If you were Māori you could be banned from bars and from other businesses."

"During a series of epidemics, Māori were banned from moving about the country, because their brown skin was equated with disease," Hamilton said.

"When smallpox broke out in 1913, Māori villages were sealed off, and Māori were banned from the roads and from trains unless they had a special certificate showing they'd been immunised.

"No Pākehā was ever subjected to these rules. They were blatantly racist, made life almost impossible for Māori, and were in force for many months."