Belgian DJ Netsky will still be headlining OUSA’s Ori 2021 concert, despite sharing a video on Instagram showing people mocking the pūkana at a post-America’s Cup celebration party.
In a statement shared with Radio One, OUSA President Michaela Waite-Harvey acknowledged that Netsky’s team “have shown immediate remorse and understanding of the severity of the situation,” and “a willingness and eagerness to engage in honest and open conversations with our Māori students”. As a result, Michaela said she feels “comfortable with our decision to continue with the event,” saying OUSA will work with Netsky and Te Roopū Māori “to organise a hui where he can listen and learn from our tauira”.
The Ori 21 concert will take place in Union Hall on 22 April, after Covid delayed the scheduled show during O Week.
Not everyone seemed to agree with this decision. Second year Otago student Sally told Radio One she would prefer OUSA ceased to promote the event, noting that the gig was still a “money maker” for Netsky.
The video, since taken down, showed multiple non-Māori doing pūkana, some with drinks in hand, to laughter and whooping from the crowd. It was called “disgraceful” by Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who slammed the actions of people who do “not at all respect who we are and what it is that we’ve been able to give them”.
Netsky took the video down the next morning and posted a public apology on Twitter and Instagram, saying “I’m embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I obviously have a lot to learn. I need to educate myself in issues of cultural appropriation and I am committed to doing this. I apologise to everyone I’ve offended.”
At least one person in the video has since faced high-profile consequences: Stuff reported that tennis player Ajeet Rai was sanctioned by Tennis New Zealand, after anti-racism advocate Shaneel Lal sent a link of the incident to them. They told Stuff: “I’ve got people yelling ‘stop cancel culture’ at me. My response is: this is not cancel culture, this is consequence culture.”