Moko Takes to US Streets
The sale of Maori themed Halloween costumes by an American store has angered Maori leaders. Halloween Town in Los Angeles is advertising the Maori Facial Tattoo Kit for $US10. Rotorua academic Ngahihi o te ra Bidois (pictured) has contacted the store to ask for the product’s immediate withdrawal, and is considering raising the issue with NZ’s Human Rights Commission. “It is insulting … what they are doing is not portraying Maori correctly,” he told Rotorua’s Daily Post. While Victoria University’s Aroha Mead agrees the kits are disrespectful, she believes such instances of cultural appropriation are inevitable. “No one likes to see their culture being denigrated but we are aware that the moko is in the public domain,” she says.