A Tasman clothing firm has apologised and removed pants with images of Ganesh on them after the Hindu community called the design "highly inappropriate".
Mariposa Clothing, based in the Tasman District town of Takaka, was selling pants featuring the Hindu deity Lord Ganesh for $15, but the Universal Society of Hinduism described it as inappropriate use for a commercial agenda.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as a God of wisdom.
Society president Rajan Zed demanded Mariposa offer an apology for "religious appropriation".
"It was deeply trivialising of immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesh to be displayed on pants," says Zed, who's based in the US state of Nevada.
A Mariposa spokeswoman told Newshub the company removed the pants on Monday morning.
"It was certainly never our intention to cause any offence and we apologise to anyone who did take offence."
Lord Ganesh is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon, readily identified by his elephant head.
Zed says symbols of any faith shouldn't be mishandled.
He recently called out a Brazilian fashion clothing brand for also displaying Ganesh on one of its lines of shorts.
"Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivialising it hurt the followers," Zed says.
Reuters / Newshub.