15 Jan 2010

T-shirt slogan inappropriate, says Maori commission

6:19 pm on 15 January 2010

A T-shirt which uses sexual innuendo in a slogan around the word "Whakapapa" is inappropriate and immature, the Maori Language Commission says.

Mr Vintage, the company which produced the T-shirt, says it will review the wording.

Commission chief executive Huhana Rokx says it is totally inappropriate to use Maori language phonetics to reflect profanity in English.

Mrs Rokx says the commission has not made a formal complaint, but would like to encourage businesses to research the Maori language before using it.

She says in this case, it appears someone has tried to be clever with the two languages, but it is not very clever at all.

Mr Vintage director Rob Ewan says there is no way he and his team would be culturally insensitive on purpose.

Mr Ewan says the T-shirt has been well received by customers and Facebook fans, and he has not had a single negative comment about it until now.