Waitangi manager outraged over video starring white men with faux moko

A screenshot from the video.
A screenshot from the video. Photo credit: RNZ / YouTube

A Waitangi Treaty Grounds manager is outraged over a video starring white men pretending to be Māori, complete with wigs and faux moko.

The video was made by a church group as a retelling of the story of Tārore, a young girl from Ngāti Hauā who studied at a missionary school. When she was murdered in the mid-1800s, her killer read her bible and asked for forgiveness, leading to the spread of Christianity.

Much of the video uses Te Whare Rūnanga, the meeting house found on the Waitangi treaty grounds, as a backdrop.

When Te Whare Rūnanga cultural adviser Mori Rapana saw the video on YouTube, he commented that it was "disgusting" and "disgraceful" and demanded it be removed.

"I will be doing everything in my power and by any means necessary to track you down," he warned in a YouTube message screenshotted by RNZ.

"The fact that all of your names are at the end of the film will not make it very hard to find you."

Speaking to RNZ, he said the film was unsanctioned and "absolutely terrible".

"[I was] shocked, disgusted, angered that people could present such a misinterpretation, a culturally insensitive video portraying tūpuna that they have absolutely no affiliation, no connection to," he told RNZ.

"It was certainly a jaw-dropping moment. I have seen many videos of that type of nature before but I have certainly not seen one that bad, it was absolutely terrible."

RNZ contacted the man who made the video, Hudson Millar, who said he made the video to help share Tārore's story and it wasn't intended to be historically accurate.

"I put together just a bunch of people in the church who wanted to do it and grabbed what kind of things we could to put together to make a story just to show in the church."

The video has since been removed.