Kiwi chef Annabel Langbein criticised over choice of names for Mother's Day competition

goss 02/05/2018

Celebrity chef Annabel Langbein has been criticised for a Mother's Day competition perceived to be excluding non-Pakeha women.

The Facebook competition allowed people to enter to win if their mother's name was included on a list of names.

There were two versions of one name, Deborah and Debra, but the list was criticised for appearing to be based on 'traditional Pakeha names'.

Annabel Langbein has responded by saying the list was based on the Department of Internal Affairs list of the most common baby names in the 1960s, and said she was open to suggestions for the next list to be posted on Tuesday.

The initial list on Monday included names like Susan, Karen, Sharon, Joanne, Robyn, Mary, Debra and Judy. Around 16,000 people had entered the competition within 12 hours.

However, some people pointed out the list of names was excluding those who did not have 'traditional Pakeha names' and said the list needed to be more diverse.

Henderson Massey Local Board member Will Flavell was able to enter his mother Deborah in the competition - but he called out the lack of diversity in the list of names.

"I am just challenging that non-English names were not used in the list. The diversity of Auckland where Annabel is based should reflect that. I am a fan alongside my family of Annabel's cooking skills where we regularly purchase her books," he told Newshub.

Christchurch student Ana Avia-o'connor said: "You had space for 'Robyn with a Y' but none for Māori, Pasefika, Asian, African, Arabic, etc names? Naaaaahhhhh. People with other than generic middle class Pakeha names also like cooking."

"I'm guessing my Fijian Mother Miriama won't make the list?" asked Annie-Maria Ross.

"This isn't very reflective of the multicultural Mangere I grew up in and the urban ethnic Auckland I live in - hopefully the next list is a bit more diverse and includes some names of the over 100 ethnicities that are my neighbours! Tamaki Makaurau ain't all vanilla, lift your game people!"

Annabel Langbein is yet to respond to Newshub's request for comment, but said on Facebook: "Thanks for your feedback everyone. We wanted as many mums and grandmas as possible to be able to enter on the first day so we used a Department of Internal Affairs list of the most common baby names in the 1960s  but we're open to suggestions about who's on the next list! Send us your ideas by midday today and we'll pick 20 at random for today's giveaway."