An American website has removed shower curtains, cushions and t-shirts featuring Māori portraits and images of a shrunken Māori head (mokomōkai) for purchasing.
The use of images including Gottfried Lindauer portraits of Māori chiefs, on items for sale shocked musician, Moana Maniapoto.
“I just can’t actually imagine the bad taste of the people who want something like that, you know? And cushions you sit your little nono on” she said.
An online discussion group asked for the items to be removed. The artist apologised for causing offence and withdrew the items.
The website was also offering portraits of chiefs – including Waikato’s Rewi Maniapoto and Ngāpuhi’s Tamati Waka Nene – on shower curtains. Many of those portraits have now been removed as well.
Art historian Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, also a descendent of some of the Lindauer subjects, had said Māori culture was being exploited, and she was appalled by the use of the images. She said Māori images on tea towels and crockery were bad enough but this was much worse.