WELLINGTON, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Cartoonist Garrick Tremain, who's latest work is being slammed as racist, has apologised to the public on Wednesday.
The cartoon depicted two women walking out of a travel agent, with one saying to the other: "I asked, 'What are the least popular spots at the moment?' She said: 'The ones people are picking up in Samoa.'"
The Otago Daily Times (ODT) newspaper has been heavily criticised for running the cartoon by Garrick Tremain in print on Tuesday.
New Zealand Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon called the cartoon "extremely appalling and distasteful."
"To make fun of the fatal measles epidemic that has claimed the lives of many innocent children is a slap in the face to grieving families in Samoa, here and overseas. It is also disrespectful to New Zealand citizens of Samoan heritage," said Meng Foon.
Tremain published an apology on his website on Wednesday morning, saying the cartoon should not have been put forward for publication and acknowledging "the lack of judgment on my part".
Otago Daily Times editor Barry Stewart also published an apology on the opinion page on Wednesday. "It shows very poor judgment by the cartoonist and those involved in publishing it," said Stewart.
Samoa is undergoing a measles outbreak this year from October. The Samoan government has completely shut down its private sector following the deaths of 55 people there, most of whom were children.