Former All Black Byron Kelleher is in the process of opening a new pub called, Haka Corner. But the new name has been slammed for cultural insensitivity not only by the Minister of Māori Development but also the founder of a Māori-based company in Europe.
aka is internet gold, but its significance to New Zealand is deeper than money.
"It's quite identifiable overseas. You can market that and promote that as you see that fit, the thing everyone has to watch out for is whether it is appropriate," says Lionel Anderson founder Manaia Māori Performing Arts Company.
This issue has arisen because ex-All Black Byron Kelleher has decided to call his pub in Toulose, France, the "Haka Corner". The idea was to mix rugby ambience with a bit of Māori flavour leading up to the Rugby World Cup.
But the flavour has left an unpleasant taste for the Minister of Māori Development. "Did he bother to consult anyone on the use of the Māori concept on the world stage? I think the only purpose for him is to make money through the patrons in his bar. Will there be any benefits to Māori? No!" he says.
For over 10 years, Manaia Māori Performing Arts Company has operated out of London by providing corporate events for All Black games abroad. The company founder Lionel Anderson believes Kelleher has no mana or backing to use haka and the haka "brand" to entice customers through pub culture.
Kelleher is also running the #HakaChallenge to raise funds for children in hospitals. It has also been reported that there are plans to extend the Haka Corner franchise to other French cities.