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Overseas 'haka' businesses remove footage

The growth of the internet is exposing Māori culture to the world but incidents of cultural appropriation are also becoming more common in the digital era.

Founder of Māori Movement, Ngarino Te Waati, spoke to Te Ao Māori News about having his own image taken without consent after business ventures "Haka Brazil" and "Haka Iceland" used footage belonging to him.

“I was quite surprised to see my face in their video being shared over in Europe for the purposes of their own product,” he says.

“I'm not one to belittle anyone but they are ignorant, they should know to ask the people about our cultural heritage, [the] practice of haka that is handed down over generations.”

Māori intellectual property expert Karaitiana Taiuru says the first step is to approach the offending person/organisation in a calm and polite manner, explain why their actions are cultural appropriation, why it is offensive and ask that the offensive material is removed.

In his experience, the majority will co-operate.

“We know everyone likes our Māori world and the appeal of our haka practices, but the right thing to do is to first approach the right people, the masters, the teachers and leaders of these cultural heirlooms,” says Te Waati.

Māori Movement uses traditional Māori heritage practices informed by Māori philosophy.

“It incorporates the use of haka, the Māori health model of Whare Tapawhā, the Māori philosophy of creation, the movements, they're related to improving health and wellbeing.”

Since being contacted by Te Ao Māori News and Te Waati, both ventures have removed the footage.

Both have failed to respond to requests by Te Ao Māori News for comment..