Netsky says he is "embarrassed and ashamed" after he and some people he was partying with came under fire after appearing to inappropriately do pūkana in videos shared to Instagram this week.
The Belgian beatmaker uploaded since-deleted footage from what appeared to be America's Cup win celebrations on a yacht in Auckland, showing several blonde women performing pūkana, sometimes holding a stick as a fake taiaha.
According to maoridictionary.co.nz, a pūkana is "to stare wildly, dilate the eyes - done by both genders when performing haka and waiata to emphasise particular words and to add excitement to the performance".
In another since-deleted video shared by British-born motorcycle racer Blayes Heaven, Netsky himself also did a pūkana.
The clips quickly drew outrage on social media and were condemned as "insensitive, racist and culturally inappropriate", prompting Netsky to declare he is committed to educating himself to do better.
"I'm embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I obviously have a lot to learn. I need to educate myself on issues of cultural appropriation and I am committed to doing this. I apologise to everyone I've offended," he wrote on Instagram.
Members of Aotearoa's music community were among those weighing in on the videos on social media.
"Is it okay to call Netsky an overstayer?" Haz Beats, of Home Brew and Team Dynamite, asked on Twitter.
"Don't ever video wypipo (white people) making fun of this land's culture."
Hip-hop artist PNC called the people in the video "racist trash", saying Netsky had "inadvertently exposed" them.
"Deport him, IMO," another Twitter user wrote.
"[It's] 2021 and people [are] still out here openly clowning tangata whenua like this. The audacity," added SWIDT member SPYCC.
Shaneel Lal, cofounder of End Conversion Therapy NZ and anti-racism advocate, wrote of the incident: "The ugly thing about New Zealand is that we pretend we are a progressive country and then just be racist."
"These are the faces of the 'NZ is not racist' movement and the movement has been a pathetic failure at best," they captioned the videos on Instagram.
"There are more spaces available for rich white people to be racist every day than there are for BIPOC to feel safe in white New Zealand."
Netsky completed two weeks of quarantine before surprising Kiwi fans at Rhythm and Vines on New Year's Eve before taking his Glasshouse tour around the country.
The drum and bass star has frequently talked about his passion for New Zealand, calling his latest music video with Kiwi DJ Montell2009 "a love letter to Aotearoa". The 'Mixed Emotions' video is imbued with Māori culture, featuring sweeping scenic shots of marae and cameos from many indigenous New Zealanders.
Several Twitter users commented that they felt Netsky would have more cultural awareness having visited New Zealand many times over the last decade.
"I feel like he's been on a marae and clearly has a lot of Māori mates here after 10 years to know the culture by now," one tweet read.