Topics: Entertainment, Kapa Haka

Germans outrage over haka ad

By Aroha Awarau

A German insurance advertisement depicting the Māori haka has caused debate with German viewers.

ARAG Group’s latest television campaign features people on the streets in Germany performing the haka.

The ad has caused outrage with many English speaking people who have posted on the company’s Youtube video.

“How ignorant r u people?! This is cringe worthy! (sic)” one user commented. 

Nicky Thomas posted: “As a New Zealand Maori living in Germany I am deeply offended by this- the trivialisation of a sacred piece of culture. Please remove this.”

But German residents, in their mother tounge, also expressed their disapproval of the ad.

A translated version of a comment reads: “Simply disrespectful to abuse such a wonderful tradition from an indigenous people for a pathetic advertisement. How rude and tactless can you be? I have no words,”  Another German viewer supported the ad, saying “If they did an ad in New Zealand with totally yodelling schuhplattler [a German folk dance] nobody would care.”

The ARAG team commented on the online criticism, defending the ad and saying they consulted a haka expert.

“The choreography in our video was in fact inspired by the haka. The people are emboldening themselves with courage for the future and in doing so are using elements of the dance.”

Pou Temara, a Professor of Te Reo and Tikanga at Waikato Universiy, says the use of Māori culture outside of Aotearoa is hard to control.

“What it represents to me is the relevance the Māori culture has on the world. It’s always going to be exploited. Our culture is making a mark on the world and I’m happy about that.”

But he says overseas companies should always consult Māori before depicting our culture.

“If you’re going to use it seek permission and advice on how to portray Maori, so it doesn’t hurt the culture.”