Air New Zealand's new uniforms display an insensitive use of Maori forms, a Maori academic says.
The uniforms, designed by Trelise Cooper, are set to be introduced in 2011 to coincide with the introduction of a new fleet of 777-300 aircraft.
The head of Maori and Indigenous studies at Canterbury University, Rawiri Taonui, says although traditional art forms change over time, this design shows a lack of understanding of Maori motifs.
"They're so distorted and simplistic that it's obviously been put together by someone who doesn't really understand the significance of the motifs and how they might ... work together," he told Waatea News
Rawiri Taonui says a previous Air New Zealand advertising campaign had to be withdrawn because of mispronounced Maori words.
Air New Zealand says the uniforms are still in an early concept stage and being evaluated.
The airline says it regularly consults cultural groups including the Maori Language Commission and Maori Arts New Zealand.
The proposed uniforms for cabin crew have twilight pink as the base colour, with ground crew wearing wearing teal green, and managers sky blue.