May 8, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Coke Japan angers the NRL and Maori

2 min read

Coca-Cola Japan is currently in hot water after airing a recent Coke Zero ad which has featured what looks to be the All Blacks (actors in fact) performing a haka for the Japanese ad. The Stuff has reported that the New Zealand Rugby Union is now exploring its legal rights while there are also Maori who say the portrayal was disrespectful and want the campaign to cease.

CokaHakaCCoca-Cola Japan has apologised for any offence caused, but continues to stick to it’s argument that it was an “original haka and not Ka Mate”. The company went on to say that the haka was created, choreographed and performed by a Japanese-based Maori cultural group.

The problem, however arises because the performers were dressed as All Blacks albeit without the Silver Fern and the haka bore a striking resemblance to Ka Mate.

The commercial featured Japanese popstar Namie Mauro and dancing girls facing off with the group described as “a troupe of studs from Kiwiland in the traditional Maori haka dance”.

NZRU spokesman Paul Dalton said it appeared no All Blacks trademarks had been infringed.

“But the NZRU remains concerned that an association with the All Blacks will have been suggested to the average Japanese consumer.

“We are currently exploring what our legal rights might be under Japanese law.”

Depending on the advice, NZRU would be working with Coca-Cola to resolve the matter.

Ngati Toa spokesman Te Ariki WiNeera said the commercial was disrespectful. The iwi was extremely unhappy with the portrayal of the haka. Though it was an original composition it alluded to the fact that the haka in the commercial was Ka Mate and the All Blacks through their performance. “That’s what we find offensive,” he said.

Last year the New Zealand embassy contacted Ngati Toa advising they had told producers of the commercial to make contact before using the haka, but nothing happened. The iwi believed the company should change or remove the commercial.

Coca-Cola Japan said it engaged extensively with parties when developing the Coke Zero campaign.

Click play to watch the video:


4 thoughts on “Coke Japan angers the NRL and Maori

Leave a Reply to Bronson Perich Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.