Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Māori performers of the haka in Brisbane on Australia Day
Vaccination protesters who interrupted a New Zealand Māori haka have been asked to stop performing it.
Dr Sarah Noland-Chambers, an Māori-born doctor, asked the Saturday Prayer Group at the Wellington GeoHealth Institute to tone down the chant.
The group is opposed to the introduction of the measles vaccine in New Zealand.
In a video of the moment in May, a tūpuna kauri tree shakes as protesters imitate vaccination drops.
“Our song is called ‘Me against Me’ and we perform it as a language, for the children and whānau who were once in pain, who are now living better lives and who will live with peace and harmony,” a writer in one of the posts reading in tāngata whenua, or New Zealand English, said on the Royal New Zealand Institute’s Facebook page.
“If you are a person of Te Tiriti o te Rarawa (us), the Makarau ki tēnāti, you need to say no to these repeated attempts to erode our rights by loud speakers.
“We just cannot allow this anti-vaccination movement to take away our mana – the people whose names are tēnāti, who are wāhine, who paua whakatī and whānau who are matana.”
The Māori Nation revealed that 70% of all Māori say they are ‘not comfortable’ with the measles vaccine.
“It is our movement to bring back indigenous rights and heal what the past has done to us,” said the Māori Nation leader Anna Naehia Gibson.
“Therefore, I respectfully ask you to respect and not disrespect Māori life and culture with your chant”.
The Saturday Prayer Group has not responded to the request.
About one in four New Zealanders has no formal medical qualifications.
Many Māori live in remote areas where the majority of the population have never received vaccine.
But high rates of vaccination seen in some regions masks the fact that Māori children are still less likely to be vaccinated, with public funding from the National Health Service available to Māori when a similar service is not available for people from other minority groups.