Czech company backs down after using Maori symbols in pokie game
A Czech Republic company has taken down its Maori themed gambling game after accusations of cultural appropriation.
The game, titled "Maori", was released late in December and featured Maori imagery and a rendition of the haka Ka Mate.
The game's developer, Endorphina said the Maori slots game gave gamblers "immersion into the game and the culture of the people".
A December report from Casino News Today stated: "Endorphina proudly announced the launch of its newest Maori online slot. "The new Maori online slot is celebrating the traditional inhabitants of the New Zealand."
In New Zealand the game was not received with the same level of excitment. Maori health group Hapai Te Hauora issued the developers a statement via its lawyers, requesting a formal apology and the removal of the game.
Its chief executive Lance Norman called the game an "insult" to Maori.
"Maori intellectual property has been used as comforting and familiar inducements, with the potential to lure vulnerable people to online gambling," he said.
Norman wanted a formal apology issued to Ngati Toa, whose rights to the haka Ka Mate are enshrined in New Zealand law.
General manager of Hapai Te Hauora, Anthony Hawke, said it wasn't the foreign company's place to be marketing the Maori culture.
"The culture of Maori is unique to New Zealand and was being described in a product that creates harm specially for that culture, Maori, in New Zealand," he said.
He said the company had apologised and indicated it would introduce a policy against cultural appropriation.
Endorphina declined to comment. It had removed all advertising related to the game.