'Disgraceful': America's Cup revellers in 'shameful' haka controversy

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Seen here, America's Cup revellers mock Maori culture in shocking haka impersonations.
Revellers sparked controversy after mocking Maori culture during America's Cup celebrations. Pic: Instagram

A cultural appropriation storm has erupted in New Zealand after America's Cup celebrations took a controversial turn.

Revellers were filmed on a $21 million boat celebrating Team New Zealand's 7-3 win over Luna Rossa that saw the Kiwis retain the America's Cup.

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However, the footage has sparked outrage after white New Zealanders were seen mocking their Maori compatriots while imitating the haka.

Internationally-renowned DJ Netsky - who has been touring New Zealand - initially shared the footage to social media before taking it down.

He later apologised for any offence it caused.

The outrage centred around a number of white partygoers borrowing actions from the haka by sticking their tongues out and using a stick as a makeshift Maori weapon.

The vision was taken from a boat owned by millionaire toymaker and Zuru founder Nick Mowbray, who called on the revellers to "learn from their mistakes".

“It’s the complete opposite of what I stand for and what Zuru stands for," Mowbray told the New Zealand Herald.

"I can’t speak on behalf of the people who were involved, but I always encourage anyone who is called out for this type of unacceptable behaviour to take ownership, apologise and learn from their mistake,” Mowbray added.

Footage labelled 'disgraceful' by Maori community

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer called the video “disgraceful”.

“I think it’s a sad reflection on what should otherwise be a fabulous race,” she said.

“It’s important to remember that the America’s Cup has been supported widely by tangata whenua (Maori people). The name of the yacht – Te Rehutai – the name it’s been blessed … We believe it’s our karakia (Maori prayers) that helped it win.

“It’s a disrespect of the hard work that has been going on to make this unique Aotearoa event,” she added.

DJ Netsky is seen here performing on stage.
DJ Netsky took down the footage and apologised for the hurt it caused. Pic: AAP

“Sadly I think it shows the ignorance of those who haven’t taken on board or respected the way that Maori culture and New Zealand as a whole has wrapped around this event.

"The tangata whenua there have been hugely generous. Named the yacht, and, more than a stamp of approval, it gave it the stamp of absolute protection.”

The vision quickly drew outrage on social media, with viewers slamming those involved as being "insensitive, racist and culturally inappropriate".

Netsky - whose real name is Boris Daene - posted an apology to social media after deleting the footage that he was also seen in.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I obviously have a lot to learn. I need to educate myself in issues of cultural appropriation and I am committed to doing this. I apologise to everyone I’ve offended,” he wrote on his Instagram Stories and on his official Twitter account.

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