Topic: Europe

European Commission backs down on ‘offensive’ Haka video

By Taroi Black
  • Wellington

A formal complaint has been made to the European Commission head office claiming a man is turning haka into a joke on social media. The video #BeActive was to encourage people to participate in a 'Haka Challenge'  

Fionnaigh Mckenzie who laid the complaint says the haka video was ‘silly’.

“It was also the context of the competition, so the next week the challenge was to do weightlifting with fruit”, she said.

Ms McKenzie claims the sports advert was offensive because the commission contradicts their core-values in sports teams that eliminate racism, and fostering a sense of social inclusion.  

“The haka is something really important in Māori culture and it's something that should be respected and not treated as a joke.”

In response, the European Commission says they have great ‘respect’ for the Māori culture. They regret that and acted promptly to have it removed from our all of their own social media accounts.

Rugby has set a precedence for the haka with a 129-year tradition of its use at all levels.   

However, some performers who make a living out of haka have mixed emotions about the concept.

Performer Michael Rūrehe says, “I don't find it offensive, I find it inspirational.”

However, Auckland haka performer Nettie Norman believes the way the haka video was portrayed was concerning but doesn’t mind the concept.