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A dance group from the Czech Republic has been slammed for doing a mock haka while wearing face paint meant to look like traditional Māori markings.
They uploaded a video to Instagram of them performing the posture dance that is deeply connected to indigenous Kiwi culture.
The video was captioned 'When the girls have Haka on the hook' and included hashtags like #bollyhaka, #facepainting, #dancefusion and #newzealandinspiration.
The troupe also posted a photo collage of all the dance members and their attempt at Tā moko, which is the permanent marking or 'tattoo' that is traditionally practised by Māori people in New Zealand.
It wasn't long before Kiwis saw the social media posts and it's fair to say the reaction hasn't been great.
The original Instagram user who uploaded the footage has since switched their account to private after being battered with comments raging about racism and cultural appropriation.
One person said: "Please educate yourself, the cultural appropriation that is presented here is very disrespectful."
Another wrote: "That's not dance fusion. That is truly awful cultural appropriation. Please stop."
A third added: "This is really not okay. Remove and apologise."
The video also copped a severe serve from Māori cultural adviser Karaitiana Taiuru.
He told the New Zealand Herald: "[The video] represents an emerging trend of online caricature depicting Māori as savage, uneducated and aggressive people, disguised as humour in the same manner that the Black Face is/was to African Americans.
"This is blatant racism that frankly impacts all Māori and especially impacts those Māori who choose to revive our ancient customs of facial tattoos called Ta Moko (men) and Moko Kauae (females)."
He labeled them 'pure racists' and is worried caricatures like this of his culture could cause young Māori people to not embrace their culture because it's being thrown around by random people half a world away.
Karaitiana wants there to be harsher penalties dished out by social media companies for people who engage in cultural appropriation.
The cultural adviser believes politicians should crack down on this.
"They have no idea about what the haka or Māori tattoo art represents, and their actions imply that Māori are sexually aggressive which is another colonial stereotype that does not reflect Māori culture," he added.
"The current protection offered to such racists by social media conglomerates and free speech advocates, in addition to a lack of legal protection in New Zealand, only fuels such unacceptable behaviour.
"This highlights the need for the New Zealand Government to legislate against racism online and the need for a by Māori - for Māori Internet Safety organisation where Māori do not feel culturally unsafe engaging and reporting such despicable material."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram
Topics: New Zealand
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