A dance group from the Czech Republic has been criticized for doing a fake haka while wearing face paint supposedly resembling traditional Maori brands.
They uploaded a video to Instagram of them performing the posture dance which is deeply linked to indigenous Kiwi culture.
The video was captioned “When the Girls Got Haka on the Hook” and included hashtags like #bollyhaka, #facepainting, #dancefusion and #newzealandinspiration.
The troupe also posted a collage of photos of all of the dance members and their attempt at Tā moko, which is the permanent marking or “tattoo” that is traditionally practiced by Maori in New Zealand.
It didn’t take long for the Kiwis to see the social media posts and it’s fair to say the response hasn’t been overwhelming.
The original Instagram user who uploaded the images has since changed his account to private after being beaten up with raging comments about racism and cultural appropriation.
One person said: “Please inquire, the cultural appropriation that is presented here is very disrespectful.”
Another wrote: “This is not dance fusion. It really is a horrible cultural appropriation. Please stop.”
A third added: “This is really not good. Delete and apologize.”
The video was also severely serviced by Maori cultural advisor Karaitiana Taiuru.
He told the New Zealand Herald: “[The video] represents an emerging trend of online caricature portraying Maori as wild, uneducated and aggressive people, disguised in humor in the same way the Black Face is / was for African Americans.
“This is blatant racism that frankly affects all Maori and especially Maori who choose to revive our ancient customs of facial tattoos called Ta Moko (men) and Moko Kauae (women).”
He called them “pure racists” and fears that caricatures like this of his culture will prevent young Maori from embracing their culture because it is started by random people on the other side of the world. .
Karaitiana wants tougher penalties imposed by social media companies on people who engage in cultural appropriation.
The cultural adviser believes that politicians should crack down on this.
“They have no idea what the haka or Maori tattoo art represents, and their actions imply that Maori are sexually aggressive, which is another colonial stereotype that does not reflect Maori culture,” a- he added.
“The current protection afforded these racists by social media conglomerates and free speech advocates, in addition to the lack of legal protection in New Zealand, only fuels such unacceptable behavior.
“This highlights the need for the New Zealand government to legislate against online racism and the need for a Maori organization for internet safety where Maori do not feel culturally unsafe to engage and report such content. contemptible.”