A Canadian brewery has apologised after unwittingly naming one of its beers after the Maori word for pubic hair.
The Hell’s Basement brewery in Alberta, western Canada, used the Maori word “huruhuru” to name its “New Zealand hopped pale ale”.
Meanwhile, a leather store in New Zealand’s capital Wellington has also apologised for naming its store after the Maori word.
TV personality Te Hamua Nikora, a member of the Maori community in New Zealand, had criticised the companies for using the word.
He said on Facebook: “Some people call it appreciation, I call it appropriation.”
Mr Nikora went on to explain that most Maori use the word “huruhuru” as a reference to pubic hair.
He added that he contacted both the store and the brewery to inform them of their mistake.
Mr Nikora said: “If you are selling leather, call it leather, don’t call it pubic hair unless you are selling pubic hair.
“Don’t call beer pubic hair unless you make it with pubic hair.”
He asked for non-Maori businesses to use their own language to promote their own products.
The Canadian brewery’s co-founder Mike Patriquin said in statement to the New Zealand news site RNZ that he thought huruhuru meant “feather” and he didn’t realise it was a reference to pubic hair.
Mr Patriquin said: “We did not realise the potential to offend through our artistic interpretation, and given the response we will attempt to do better in the future.”
He added that it was not the brewery’s intent to offend the Maori people in any way.
Mr Patriquin added: “To those who feel disrespected we apologise. We also do not think pubic hair is shameful, though we admit it may not go well with beer.”
A spokesperson from the Wellington leather store also told RNZ they hadn’t meant to offend.
Aynur Karakoc said the company used the word with the intention of it meaning wool, feather or fur, and that the business cannot afford to undergo a rebrand.
The spokesperson added that the company gained approval for the name from the Intellectual Property Office’s Maori advisory committee.
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