New Zealand’s Māori nation has asked the head of a secular anti-vaccination organization to stop performing his traditional haka for pregnant women attending an event promoting breastfeeding.
“The haka is for us to unite, so that when we walk out, we walk in unity and that you will all play a part in promoting our movement,” Māori civil rights chief Liuba Quah said in a statement released Wednesday by her office, according to the Dominion Post.
“We are not opposed to people giving blood; we are opposed to the misinformation given to pregnant women.”
New Zealand mother Sharon Marra, 30, shared a video of Aaron Stacey, president of the New Zealand Society for Pediatric Blood Services, performing a haka on Monday as she attended a breastfeeding group.
Marra gave birth to her second son, Lawson, on May 6.
“Apparently as a breast feeding māori person, I’m a possible carrier for Zika,” she said.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health says there is a 29 percent Zika infection rate in the country.
Stacey told Newshub the practice was a hyenashake, or haka.
“I’m a huge believer in gender equality,” he said. “I am an authentic Māori haka. This is just an example of how I can use the haka to showcase the Māori music and the culture I come from.”
But Quah says Māori don’t do hakas for the parade.