I refer to an article about Saint Nicholas, Black Peter and racism in Holland, (Opinion, December 1), by Stephanie Arthur-Worsop.

It is ill-founded and factually incorrect. It does not date back to 1850 but to the fourth century.

St Nicholas was the bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey) and saved the town from starvation. On his birthday on December 5 he always handed out presents to the children.

His helper had apparently a dark skin and became known as Black Pieter.


When they passed away the people did not want to disappoint the children and carried on with a "fake" Saint and Black Peter. Nowadays when they arrive in cities in December they draw an enthusiastic crowd at least as large as a royal visit.

To describe Black Peter as "silly" and "dumb" as claimed in the article would be rather upsetting to Dutch children. They are certainly not upset by a Black Pieter.

For a New Zealand journalist to rubbish a centuries-old custom at the other end of the world is as absurd as if a Dutch journalist was to ridicule the Māori greeting of nose rubbing. They would be most upset.

Harry Brasser

PC gone mad

Re Black Peter (Local News, December 1). Anyone who sees this as racist needs their head reprogrammed.

It's traditional festive fun PC gone mad, in my opinion.

I do agree we live in racist world but here in good old New Zealand we all get along just fine largely because we are easygoing and respect each other's ethnic backgrounds.

We are all different – black, white, tall, short, fat, skinny, disabled, not disabled - the list goes on but who really cares, life's too short to worry about this sort of rubbish.

We used to be isolated at the bottom of the world but not any more with technology. We have to resist all this PC rubbish coming in or we will be too scared to call a spade a spade because of repercussions.

Gavin Muir

House buying

I wonder if most people really genuinely understand how difficult it is for young couples to buy a house?

Any house which is on the market is quickly snapped up by those with easy means to buy.

That would be okay if these buyers were planning to live in the houses they buy, but sadly this is often not the case.

The house becomes an Airbnb property, often empty for days.

Is this not an indictment on our society?

A N Christie

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