Story at a glance

  • A group of white dancers from the Czech Republic are being criticized after posting a video of themselves wearing black face paint while performing what they referred to as a “Bollywood Haka.”
  • The haka, which is a ceremonial dance for the Māori, New Zealand’s Indigenous people, can be used to represent a challenge during conflict.
  • The choreographer, Jarmila Chromíková, has since made her Instagram account private.

A group of white dancers from the Czech Republic are being criticized after posting a video of themselves wearing black face paint while performing what they referred to as a “Bollywood Haka” dance. 

The haka, which is a ceremonial dance for the Māori, New Zealand’s Indigenous people, can be used to represent a challenge during conflict. 

The video was choreographed and published by choreographer and performer Jarmila Chromíková, who specializes in Bollywood dance, alongside the hashtags #bollyhaka, #facepainting, and #newzealandinspiration. 

The video received swift backlash online.


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Shaneel Lal, co-founder of End Conversion Therapy in New Zealand, wrote on Instagram, “A group of white women got together and did the ‘BOLLYHAKA.’ In other words, wearing Black face and doing the Haka on Bollywood songs. The absolute audacity of these colonesians. @jarmila_chromikova what kind of behaviour is this? This is no longer innocent behaviour - it’s blatant racism. It’s dangerous.”

Māori cultural adviser Karaitiana Taiuru told the New Zealand Herald that the video "represents an emerging trend of online caricature depicting Māori as savage, uneducated and aggressive people, disguised as humour in the same manner that the Black Face is/was to African Americans," adding, "This is blatant racism that frankly impacts all Māori and especially impacts those Māori who choose to revive our ancient customs of facial tattoos called Ta Moko (men) and Moko Kauae (females)." 


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Last month, Māori party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was thrown out of New Zealand’s parliament after denouncing racist rhetoric from the opposition party and performing a ceremonial haka.

Chromíková has since made her Instagram account private and hasn’t responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.


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Published on Jun 16, 2021