"Disgusted" - Pātea Māori Club react to BET Networks use of Poi E

American actress/dancer Teyana Taylor, Pātea Māori Club, and the Black Entertainment Television network now share a common denominator, New Zealand's iconic song Poi E.

On the evening of June 24, 2018, in Los Angeles, the BET Awards played out across America celebrating another year of African Americans in music.

During the live broadcast, a promotion for Hit The Floor was aired that showed actress/dancer/model Teyana Taylor dancing to a sample of Pātea Māori Clubs iconic 1980s hit, Poi E.

When the club's chair Laura Maruera was asked by Kawekōrero how she thought the songs co-writer Dalvanius Prime would have reacted seeing the clip, she responded, 'disgusted'. 

"He would be disgusted because it's not a song that we put out for any other people to use inappropriately," she said.

Dalvanius Prime and Poi E co-writer Ngoi Pewhairangi, both renowned Māori composers are now deceased. However, their legacy lives on through the Pātea Māori Club who performed the song released in 1984 and spent 22 weeks on the NZ hit charts knocking Michael Jackson off the number 1 spot for a month. The song recently hit the charts once again in 2010 when Director Taika Waititi released his movie Boy becoming the first New Zealand single to chart in three separate decades.

"Poi E is a song that was done for the people of Pātea and mainly our youth as well to carry on the legends of what Pātea was all about when the freezing works closed, so it wasn't a song to be exposed by people doing inappropriate actions to it," says Maruera.

Pātea Māori Club only became aware of the promo when it was shared across social media following the awards night. Secretary for the club Sue Turahui says she was hurt watching the clip.

"That's just not us, we've been brought up to express respect and especially our wāhine and to see our waiata exposed like that it was very disappointing."

The duo went on to explain the song was made not only for the club but for the people of Pātea and Hāwera. They are now seeking legal advice on the matter. Maruera admits she felt annoyed watching the Hit The Floor promo.

"I hope it can be stopped in other ways with these people doing these inappropriate actions with the song that we put out, it's for everybody but we would really expect them to respect anyone's waiata really."

The clip can be viewed here via our Kawekōrero Facebook page: