An apology has been issued by designer Dame Trelise Cooper for using a native American headdress in her catwalk fashion show at New Zealand Fashion Week in Auckland.
Dame Trelise said today that she regretted any offence she had caused. In her apology, she said it was never her intention to disrespect another culture by dressing her models as she did.
She said she genuinely respected and honoured all cultures, races and religions.
The designer added that she hoped through her mistake and ignorance that people became aware of the sacredness of the headdress.
Ignorance not an excuse - Maori UN advocate
A Maori United Nations advocate and a board member of a native American organisation, Carl Hutchby of Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, said ignorance was not an excuse in this day and age.
He said he was offended for his First Nation brothers and sisters that it happened in Aotearoa, and said Maori felt the pain of other indigenous people when their culture was used inappropriately.
Mr Hutchby said he had spoken to a Cherokee elder, Mashu White Feather, who was disgusted with the use of the ceremonial headdress. He said as far as he understood, it was not appropriate for women to wear them.