Māori contestant on TV3’s The Bachelor stormed off during the taping of the final show because she says she was compromised and felt like a “rent-a-Māori”.
Mariana Morrison (31) of Rotorua, who is the granddaughter of Sir Howard Morrison, competed against 22 other women for The Bachelor Zac Franich’s affection. The competition was won by Viarni Bright of Mt Maunganui. The final rose ceremony was screened last night.
A pre-recorded show reuniting all the women called Women Tell All, was taped in Auckland last night and will screen on Three tonight. It was during this taping when Mariana, who was the fourth contestant eliminated, stormed out in protest.
“I didn’t really want to go but I thought maybe there would be an opportunity for me to express how I really felt about the whole show and the process," Mariana told Native Affairs.
Mariana says being Māori in the competition made her feel exposed and she felt even more out of place being the eldest contestant with a seven-year-old daughter named Kahurangi.
“I felt like I compromised my cultural identity. For me, being amongst it all last night, I felt like the rent-a-Māori.”
About an hour into last night’s taping, Mariana says she had enough and walked off the set. She says she didn’t want young women to be influenced by the drama and the belittling of other women that was portrayed on the show.
“I felt I didn’t fit the demographic of Pākehā women between 20 -24. It highlighted really young girl, immature behaviour.”
Mariana says her friends warned her about signing up for a reality TV show, but she didn’t realise what would be involved.
“It’s like having a child. You don’t know what it’s like until you experience it. Until you’ve gone through this process, no one is in a position to judge anybody.”
Mariana says she regrets appearing on The Bachelor and walked off the final taping to make a statement.
“I took this as an opportunity to stand up for what I believed in, this is a statement within itself. Hopefully it doesn’t have a negative impact.”
Although Mariana didn’t receive a final rose from The Bachelor, she did find love soon after leaving the show. But she’s keeping those details close to her heart.
“It’s been one of the many amazing things to happen since leaving the show.”
A spokesperson from the network says they were genuinely surprised to hear Mariana felt this way.
"As we are not aware of anything that took place last night that could have upset her. Without knowing the full context of why, it is difficult for us to comment in any detail - we have tried to contact her today to see how she is.
All Mariana's posts on Instagram leading up to the filming have indicated that she enjoyed the show and was looking forward to the reunion last night so we are disappointed if this was not the case."