National | Brazil

Brazillian business using haka as "cultural appropriation" says expert

Self taught haka trainer Jivan Pramod. Source - Haka Training Facebook Page

A South American businessman has set up a development programme called Haka Training,  to help people fulfill their potential in their personal and professional lives.  But Māori researcher Karaitiana Taiuru says the man should stop practicing haka and change the name of his business to avoid causing more cultural appropriation.

Jivan Pramod, from Brazil, told Te Ao that he presents tools in the programme, named Haka Day Training, not to teach haka, but to coach meditation, emotional and positive intelligence.

"I consider it a healing restoration work so that people can live a better life."

However, on this website and Youtube page are videos and photos of Pramod teaching haka to different groups of people.

The website also includes photos of the All Blacks performing a haka and photos of Māori performers without credit being named to the people in the photos.

Doctoral researcher at Awanuiārangi Karaitiana Taiuru says the work being done by Pramod is cultural appropriation.

"It shows a level of ignorance about our culture, about someone who doesn't understand our culture, who doesn't understand what the haka is and doesn't understand what they're doing."

Pramod taught himself how to do the haka by watching videos on the internet.

"So immediately, why is he teaching it. It's obvious he doesn't understand what a haka is or what it was used for and in doing so he's just making a mockery of himself and it wouldn't matter if he was Māori or non-Māori."

Pramod says his work, "is for the people” and he doesn’t always get paid for it.

"I would like to ask, forgive me if I do something, it's not right. But I have really good intentions...I would really like to work better and learn the right form.

"I see in everyone's eyes how much they feel victorious, how much they come back to believe a better life is possible. And the set of all the techniques and knowledge that we share, build a better and hopeful human being. That's why I do what I do."

Taiuru is calling for him to change the name of his company.

"It's perfectly legit and reasonable that he stops using the work haka.

"He's stealing our culture and mocking it for his own commercial gain and its totally inappropriate and there's no excuse for it. It's my understanding he's been approached in the past, that company has been approached and have been told its offensive yet they're still doing it now."

Pramod hasn't said whether or not he'll change the name, but plans to visit New Zealand to learn more about the haka.