Anger over 'ignorant' Belgian brewery advertising 'Māori Tears' beer

The beer.
The beer. Photo credit: Brussels Beer Project

A Belgian beer company has drawn ire from New Zealanders after it started marketing a beer called Māori Tears.

The beer, made by company Brussels Beer Project, said it would "encapsulate those tears to capture their sacred nature".

The beer is made using Wakatu hops, a kind of hop grown in Nelson that received its name from the incorrect spelling of Whakatu, the Māori name for the region.

Commentator Karaitiana Taiuru said it was a classic example of a brewery causing offense and could clearly have been avoided with basic research.

"The only excuse for cultural appropriation is ignorance," he told Newshub.

"Technology such as the Internet and Social Media removes the distance and your geographical isolation to New Zealand and provides a wealth of knowledge of cultural appropriation examples."

Mr Taiuru questioned what the purpose of calling the beer Māori Tears would be and whether the brewery intended for positive or negative connotations.

"What are Māori tears? Does it symbolise that the brewer takes pride in thinking of Māori who are crying or perhaps stereotyping that Māori are sad and drink to be happy?" he said.

"The idea of drinking someone else's tears is spiritually offensive to a traditional Māori world view."

While Māori is spelt correctly orthographically, Mr Taiuru said the brewery should have sought advice before taking the name.

Newshub has approached the Brussels Beer Project for comment.