Haka in German insurance ad draws criticism

An advertisement by German insurer ARAG which features a haka, a Māori ceremonial dance, has drawn criticism in New Zealand.

Social media users labelled the commercial disrespectful, with one commentator on YouTube calling it a "trivialisation of a sacred piece of culture".

Unitec Māori academic TeUrikore Biddle has told Deutsche Presse-Agentur the concept isn't offensive, but the execution appears to have failed miserably.

The advert, carrying the slogan "ready for everything", shows hundreds of men, women and children performing a haka while announcing their plans for the future, such as building a house, becoming parents or getting a driving licence.

There are thought to be five types of haka with different functions. Some are war dances, while others are performed without weapons and used to rouse a group towards an objective.

Ms Biddle said she didn't get the sense the characters - announcing their plans for the future - were demonstrating feelings traditionally associated with a haka.

"It is like watching a PG animated movie but the music sets a mood for a thriller/action movie," she said.

ARAG defended the use of the war dance on the company's YouTube channel.

"People encourage one another to meet the challenges of the future while using haka elements," it wrote.

"To treat haka appropriately and reasonably we closely cooperated with a haka-specialist when creating the spot."

Newshub. / NZN