More FM has apologised for sharing photoshopped images of members of the kapa haka Te Whānau-a-Apanui performing at Te Matatini this year.
They said "We unreservedly apologise for reposting these images, and the offence caused" and spoke of changes they have implemented to "improve their processes for selecting international web content".
The images of Tiare Tawera and Rawiri Waititi were manipulated which saw their faces being moved to their stomachs and other faces being superimposed on their bodies as well as a number of other parody images of the individuals.
According to Tiare Tawera, when he first saw the images on the website he thought it was amusing, however after speaking with Rawiri Waititi and finding out how it impacted his children his outlook quickly changed and he became upset as well.
Willie Te Aho of Aotearoa Kapa Haka Limited described More FM as, “a bunch of thieving, silly and stupid people who need to get their heads inspected, perhaps even drug tested”.
The post on More FM’s website has since been removed however the images are still circulating on social media and debate as to the use of the images continues to cause a stir online.
Earlier this morning, Te Kāea asked followers what their thoughts were on the images.
The post generated robust debate, with some saying the photos posted are "a deliberate mockery to Maori" and that "defacing people's photos is a form of Whakaiti."
Others believed it depended on who had generated the images, that it was "ok if a Māori had created them but not for non-Māori."
Although the majority agreed that the photos are of a degrading and demeaning nature, there were also those who took a more light-hearted approach and said that "people just needed to lighten up a bit."
One person posed the question "What's the difference between that and something like bro-town or even Billy T James?"
While More FM has apologised and removed the post which was originally sourced from meme website Redit based in America, the images are still circulating on hundreds of websites and social media platforms online.
Willie Te Aho says Aotearoa Kapa Haka will be filing a complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Authority regarding the use of the images.