3 Jul 2018

US business called out for selling fake mokomokai

5:10 pm on 3 July 2018

A US business has decided to stop selling fake mokomokai - mummified Māori tattooed heads - after coming under fire from social media users.

The business decided to stop selling mokomokai or fake mummified Māori tattoed heads.

The business decided to stop selling mokomokai or fake mummified Māori tattooed heads. Photo: Facebook

Dapper Cadaver, a Californian based halloween themed prop design business, had fake mokomokai available to buy online for $110.

Facebook users expressed their shock in finding fake mokomokai were being sold for entertainment purposes.

In a statement, the owners of Dapper Cadaver said they have since decided to stop selling the replicas out of respect for Māori people.

They said they support the ongoing campaign for the repatriation of mokomokai and will donate all of the proceeds from this prop to Māori and Pacific Education Initiative.

A spokesperson for Dapper Cadaver said the prop and design was inspired by a custom project with a past Māori client.

"Company policy is that we don't give out details of past clients, so we cannot provide specifics."

Kaihautū of Te Papa Arapata Hakiwai said it was extremely disappointing replicas or images relating to tipuna were being offered in this way.

"It makes a joke or novelty of something that is sacred and of huge meaning and importance.

"This is hurtful to those whose ancestors are disrespected, and shows a lack of thought and understanding."

Dr Hakiwai is also the spokesperson for the Karanga Aoteroa repatriation programme - the mandated authority that negotiates the repatriation of Māori and Moriori ancestral remains.

"We understand that, after inquiries from New Zealand, the items have been withdrawn from sale, and we hope this is the case," he said.