'Maori are not indigenous', Playmate says in online post

Jaylene Cook, Playboy model who climbed Mt Taranaki
INSTAGRAM/Jaylene Cook

Jaylene Cook, Playboy model who climbed Mt Taranaki

Claims from a Playboy Playmate that Maori are not indigenous have been rubbished by a museum manager.

Jaylene Cook, who earned the Playmate title after appearing in Playboy Mexico, hit headlines recently after she posted a photo of herself nude on the summit of Mt Taranaki on her Instagram account.

The photo, which was picked up by media outlets across the globe, was labelled disrespectful by Maori academics and also drew criticism online, including one Instagram user who called Cook out.

Puke Ariki manager Kelvin Day says: "there is enough evidence and it is quite clear that Maori are indigenous to New ...
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Puke Ariki manager Kelvin Day says: "there is enough evidence and it is quite clear that Maori are indigenous to New Zealand".

In a Instagram post to Cook @maorimermaid said:  "Hey Jaylene, would you do a nude photo shoot at a church or a war memorial, or do you only like to disrespect indigenous sacred sites? Hope your five mins of fame was worth the curses that will haunt you for life."

The posts started a war of words, with Cook snapping back: "Lol. Get a clue before you jump on the bandwagon. Maori are NOT indigenous you ignorant t...".

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To which @maorimermaid responded: "Really? You think Maori are not indigenous to New Zealand? You really fit the stereotype that models are not intelligent," before adding "Jaylene Cook's real opinion about Maori's".

Later in the comments thread Cook responded to other critics saying she had made the non-indigenous comments to wind maorimermaid up and "everyone knows the aliens were here before anyone, they are the real indigenous".

Puke Ariki museum manager Kelvin Day said he was bemused by Cook's outburst.

It is well known a migration of people from eastern Polynesia settled in New Zealand 800 years ago, he said.

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"Archaeology, oral tradition and DNA evidence point to eastern Polynesia being the homeland of these people who developed a distinctive culture which we recognise as Maori," he said.

​"There is enough evidence and it is quite clear that Maori are indigenous to New Zealand."

Attempts to contact Cook on Thursday were unsuccessful but she has previously defended her decision to get naked on the summit by claiming nudity was art.

Cook, who grew up in the Waikato but lives on the Gold Coast, said she and her photographer partner had researched the protocols of the mountain before climbing and did not find any mention of nudity being an issue.

Local Maori had supported her actions, and the pair never set out to be disrespectful, she said.

Several Taranaki Maori spoken to said Cook had been given "too much air time" over her stunt and did not want to comment on her claims.

 - Taranaki Daily News

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