May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Heitiki infant formula company releases apology for using Maori images

2 min read has received a press release from Kiaora New Zealand International offering an apology to the New Zealand public and in particular to Maori saying “we deeply regret the cultural insensitivity on our part arising from our use of the Heitiki brand”. The company has also announced that they will be rebranding their product (with is manufactured in New Zealand) and will not incorporate any Maori imagery in the future.

The company made headlines in the New Zealand Herald with a furious MP Tariana Turia saying it was wrong to use Maori concepts which could be seen to actively be encouraging Maori women to substitute breastmilk with infant formula”.

The furor arose with the launch of the website Although the infant formula is sold in China, the company “has no intention of selling it to New Zealand consumers at this stage”.

As the AnythingBaby Blogger, Mum with a Mouth, pointed out “Since the Chinese milk scandal in 2008 there has been a lot of bulk buying of New Zealand infant formulas for sale in China. Chinese parents are still wary of buying formula produced in China, and New Zealand formula is seen as a safealternative.”

The company has brought on Brand and Marketing communication specialists CREO who have dealt with product recalls and other communication problems which have arisen in the past. The full press release is provided below:

“The company that has been criticised for using a Maori name on its infant formula says it is sorry to have caused cultural offence, which it did not intend, and will rebrand its products to remove any Maori references.

Kiaora New Zealand International says it used a Maori name and logo Heitiki on its product to underscore its New Zealand origins with customers overseas.

New Zealand General Manager Sean Xu said he was sorry that the company had caused offence in choosing a Maori name and brand when it initially launched.

We deeply regret the cultural insensitivity on our part arising from our use of the Heitiki brand.

We will be rebranding the product without reference to Maori culture but in a way that still promotes its New Zealand manufacture.

Mr Xu said the company had only began selling New Zealand export infant formula in March.

He said that the product met all New Zealand export regulations and was manufactured by a leading New Zealand dairy product manufacturer. The reason that Kiaora New Zealand Limited was not on MAFs list of registered dairy exporters was because the manufacturer was the registered exporter.”

For further information:

John McCaulay
0274 855228

Click to enlarge image

Leave a 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.