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Haka advert called insensitive

Published: 6:21PM Tuesday July 04, 2006 Source: One News

A television advert for Fiat in which a group of women perform the haka is being screened in Italy despite advice to the contrary from New Zealand.

Created by international advertising agency Leo Burnett, the Fiat advert features a group of Italian women performing Ka Mate, a haka primarily performed by Maori men.

The advertising agency approached the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who advised that using Ka Mate in this way could be seen as culturally insensitive in New Zealand and if they wished to go ahead with it they should use either Maori women or a haka composed specifically for women.

The advice was ignored.

Garry Nicholas of Te Maori Aotearoa says the advert was not done with respect in terms of understanding what a haka is actually capable of doing.

"My question would be to Fiat what is your attitude towards this type of gestating of iconic indigenous people's material," he says.

Some though see this kind of exposure as a good thing.

Terry King of Blackwood King Adpartners thinks the advert is a great compliment to New Zealand.

"I really wonder if its something that we should worry about because it's lording the All Blacks, it's putting New Zealand on the map," says King.