The word ‘Eskimo’ to be removed from popular New Zealand products

trending 19/04/2021

Following in the steps of companies worldwide that are removing racist and insensitive words from product titles, Tip Top and Pascall have confirmed the removal of the derogatory term ‘Eskimo’ from two well-loved products.

Both companies have faced questions about the name in the past but have defended the use because of the decade-long attachment New Zealanders have with TipTop’s ‘Eskimo Pie’ and ‘Pascall’s Eskimo’ lollies.

“While Pascall Eskimos have been enjoyed in New Zealand for 65 years, it is important to take this action to ensure that the business is part of the solution and helping drive positive change” the company said in a statement.

The ‘Eskimo Pie’ is one of Tip Top’s most popular desserts, but the company told Stuff it is no longer comfortable with the name. “Over that time, the name has changed meaning and we acknowledge that,” said Tip Top director Ben Schurr.

Despite New Zealander’s having positive associations with the much-loved products,

The word Eskimo has largely been used as a derogatory way to describe the indigenous people who live in the world’s Arctic region and are largely called Inuit. The majority of them who live in Canda and Greenland, have been asking people to stop using the word for a long time.

Some Inuit do use the word to describe themselves, which is okay. But if you are not of Inuit descent, you shouldn’t – even if you aren’t using the world with ‘offensive’ intent.

In 2009, Seeka Lee Veevee Parsons, an Inuit from Northern Canada, was visiting New Zealand when she discovered both products. She contacted both companies and informed them of her upset, requesting that they change the names and was told no.

Neither company has announced yet what they’ll replace the word and mascots with, but we think the removal of the term and stereotypical imagery is a great step in the right direction.