Maori public health organisation Hapai Te Hauora has condemned an online slot game that uses Maori cultural icons including waka, stylised bone carvings, pounamu, and the haka Ka Mate.
The game was created by software company Endorphina Ltd based in the Czech Republic.
According to the game’s webpage it claims the game celebrates the cultural heritage of Maori.
Hapai says it is disgusted by the unauthorised use of Maori cultural icons “for profit by a foreign company with no links to our indigenous people”.
“The association with gaming is an insult to Maori who suffer disproportionate harm from problem gambling in New Zealand.”
Public health expert Dr Meihana Durie says Endorphina Ltd's misuse of Maori culture is not only a breach of New Zealand laws but is likely to breach similar laws in other jurisdictions.
Issuing a call on Endorphina Ltd to voluntarily withdraw the product immediately and issue an apology to all Māori.
Durie also called for a specific apology to Ngati Toa Rangatira and Ngai Tahu, the iwi whose special relationship with Ka Mate and pounamu respectively are protected by law.
Endorphina have yet to issue a response.