Unfortunate that it has to be said in 2017, but please don’t appropriate other peoples’ culture.
A German insurance company, ARAG, is facing online backlash for a TV spot that features a dance imitating a traditional Mari haka, a culturally important dance performed on significant occasions and imbued with reverence.
The ad features actors performing the haka, or at least a dance inspired by it, in the middle of a street, chanting in German.
ARAG said in a Facebook comment that the haka is “ideally suited to bring our messages across,” due to its “rhythm, impressive gestures and facial expressions and determination.”
“Haka did indeed inspire our video’s choreography: People encourage one another to meet the challenges of the future while using Haka elements,” reads the comment. The company also claimed it treated the traditional war cry “appropriately” and “reasonably” by collaborating with a “Haka-specialist.”
But not everyone was impressed with the ad’s appropriation of Mari culture, labelling it a “cheap ripoff” and “inappropriate.” Another YouTube commenter wrote, “As a New Zealand Mari living in Germany I am deeply offended by this the trivialisation of a sacred piece of culture.”