Alberta’s Hell’s Basement Brewery has apologized after accidentally naming their New Zealand pale ale “Huruhuru” after the Maori term for pubic hair.
The Medicine Hat brewery, which released the ale two years ago, said they looked up the term in a dictionary and believed it meant “feather.”
Maori TV personality Te Hamua Nikora pointed out on Facebook that “huruhuru” is more commonly used to refer to pubic hair in te reo, the language Maori people speak.
“Yes I know huruhuru means feather, fur and even hair of the head,” he wrote on Facebook. “I know this. But it is most commonly used as hair from a person’s privates.”
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“When the Maori look at the name of your store, they’re not going to see ‘feather’ or soft leather, they’re going to see ‘pubes,’” he added in a video posted to his page.
He called on both Hell’s Basement and a leather shop in New Zealand to stop using the word and feeling “entitled” to using the Maori people’s language without any respect.
“If you are selling leather, call it leather, don’t call it pubic hair unless you are selling pubic hair and don’t call beer pubic hair unless you make it with pubic hair,” he said according to The Guardian.
Other chimed in with similar sentiments on social media, and encouraged companies to stop using languages that aren’t their own as a marketing tactic.
An online Maori dictionary defines huruhuru in a few ways, including “hair, feather, coarse hair, bristles (not normally of the head), fur” and the phrase “puke huruhuru” specifically as a woman’s pubic hair.
Others recalled when condiment giant Heinz named their new ketchup-mayonnaise sauce “Mayochup” which had a rather unfortunate translation into the word “shitface” in Cree.
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Hell’s Basement told CBC News that it would be rebranding the drink.
“We acknowledge that we did not consider the commonplace use of the term huruhuru as a reference to pubic hair, and that consultation with a Maori representative would have been a better reference than online dictionaries,” Mike Patriquin, the brewery’s founder, said.
“We wish to make especially clear that it was not our intent to infringe upon, appropriate, or offend the Maori culture or people in any way; to those who feel disrespected, we apologize.”