Hello Kitty Maori

Not being satisfied to take over all mainstream cultures, Hello Kitty is now attempting to take over literally ALL cultures as can be seen in this Hello Kitty Maori creation:

Hello Kitty Maori

I have no doubt that the staff at Sanrio have already sent people deep into the Amazon jungle looking for long lost tribes to convert to the Hello Kitty way. Hello Kitty Hell will soon be a reality for everyone…

Thanks to duncan (via artist Joseph), who should be forced to dress up like Hello Kitty in every culture for emailing this.

46 thoughts on “Hello Kitty Maori”

  1. well…..i think i’d rather have this kind of hellokitty in my apt if i had to have one…. because, people wouldn’t notice it right away that it’s a hellokitty.


    and if your wife get one, you should put it in front of a brown wall with black patterns.

  2. I don’t think that Hello Kitty Hell man was saying that the Maori were from the Amazon. He’s saying Sanrio is seeking out even less known minority groups to convert.

    I must admit out of all the Hello Kitty things I have seen on this blog so far, this is my favorite.

  3. I love it! I would love to be in charge of Sanrio’s design dept. I have no doubt HK will reach global domination.

  4. This is so totally offensive to the Maori people. There will be a law suit for sure – heaps of other international companies that have tried to use the Maori culture in shocking gimmicks like this have been taken to the cleaners.

  5. Wow, just wow. That’s one hell of a specimen. I’m not easily impressed, but that is exceptionally Hello Kitty and Hell mashed up together. It’s cute gone so far beyond awry that we’ve catapulted into an alternate universe, one from which we’ll never find or make a wormhole to escape.

    thank you for curing me of every last vestige (left over from the early to mid 80s) of affinity for Hello Kitty.

  6. As a NZer I know this is bad and wrong, especially the greenstone nipples(and Kitty has a man’s moko), but… I want one.

  7. Maori arn’t a tribe they’re a people and only from Aotearoa (New Zeland), and this thing isn’t that bad if you know how much poor quality kitsch floods this country ripping off Maori culture.
    But green nipples?

  8. Hi guys. I just want to clear something up, once and for all.
    I’m the guy that people are starting to ‘hate-on’ over the internet.
    I have been painting these ‘Hello Kitties’ for some time now.
    I don’t work for Sanrio and the Kia Ora Kitty is not made by them.
    They are not meant to be racist or offensive to any culture or company.
    She is purely one of my illustrations that I paint for fun.
    I have also painted a complete range of ‘Star Wars Kittys’ and I’m pretty sure
    I’d get sued by someone for those. They’re not done for any profit. Just Fun.
    Please don’t hate me.

  9. I think they are greenstone nipples. While not strictly traditional Maoritanga (of the Maori culture), they will surely take off like Janet Jackson’s nipple ring.

  10. Joseph –
    Are you an inappropriate appropriator casually drawing on anything that takes your fancy? Or are you an edgy artist challenging cultural sensitivities in a globalised context?
    Maybe you are, as you say, an innocent illustrator dabbling with dolls. So I presume to critique your work on that level.
    As others have already noted, you have applied a male moko to a female figure – or put a hair-bow on a male head.
    Also, you seem to have missed a really interesting of aspect of moko which is that the foreground pattern should be in the clear skin – the ink is the background that reveals the person’s whakapapa (heritage) and place in the community.
    Or is this disrespect for authenticity just another layer of post-modern ironic wit?
    I do recognise that the work has been accomplished with commendable precision.
    All the best.

  11. Hi Michael.
    Thank you for your great letter.
    Yes indeed, Kitty is a mish-mash of male and female ‘forces’.
    The use of male moko / tattoo is a comment on how something so innocuous can become a cultural icon (in this case, Hello Kitty) and, through their instant recognisabilty, become more powerful than the simple conventions of sexuality or identity.
    My other ‘Kittys’ forgo the usual “she’s a girl” rules and show how, no matter what “dressing” you put on someone, they are still the same under it all.
    Kitty may be wearing a warrior’s moko but her ‘mana’ comes from her honest ‘kitty-ness’. It doesn’t change, no matter how ‘staunch’ you paint her.

  12. So Joesph, how do you feel about your Hello Kitty doll making it into today’s Sideswipe section of the New Zealand Herald?

  13. Haha I’m laughing sooo much! I’m from New Zealand but not a Maori, I am European. My Maori friends would be sooooooooooo offended if they saw this.

  14. Oh and while I’m at it Joseph you should be careful. Recently Maori have been getting really pissed about Jean Paul Gaultier using Moko on his models, they take their culture very seriously and don’t take kindly to people they think are trying to cash in on it. I have read your comment and know you do this purely for fun but they may not see it that way..

  15. Please remove this picture of this shit doll and learn a little about my peoples culture before you go screwing around with it.
    It is offensive in so many ways and I don’t really want to show it to my whanau or kaumatua, Putting a Ta Moko of the male on a female doll WTF !!! I don’t know what you think art is but thats not it bro so just make good and remove it a.

  16. I’m also Maori but I’m not offended. I personally think it’s bizarre, but I’m also chuffed that so many people like it. But please, all you people in the rest of the world, don’t get the idea it’s authentically Maori because Sean is absolutely right – it isn’t. As regards Maori in general being offended by this kind of imitation, it depends on the context. Usually we take it in good spirit, but think about how devout Christians would feel if some sizable group of non-believers were to parody their sacred icons, and you’ll have some idea of when it can get offensive. Lighten up Sean – the artist’s intentions were good and those are really appreciative postings about what neat designs Maori have!

  17. Well Joseph, it has a point of difference..lol You said you didn’t want people hating on you, well you stuffed up there when you used Maori designs in a controversial way. A suggestion, next time do some research! I’m Maori and an artist but Im not offended with it, just annoyed at your lack of research into the culture and the designs as it has come off culturally inappropriate, insensitive and ignorant. It has a controversial spin and people will either love it or hate it! I think most Maori will hate it but thats my own opinion!!

  18. Pingback: Radical Cross Stitch » Kia ora Kitty?
  19. I am a Maori who is somewhat offended by this “hello Kitty” saga because it has a ta moko that my ancestors had gained due to their great esteem within their community, and also it states ones genealogy line. To put this on a brand is astounding to me as this gives anyone else the opportunity to use this in any shape or form, let it be advertising or for sheer artistic flare. I hope that “Joseph” you really research your next venture as this shows you are a great artist and you are also good at it, however as long as this “hello kitty” is illustrated and still online the comments are not going to cease.

  20. Kiaora…. (Hello in Maori)

    First of all I don’t mean to direct any blame or hatred to the artist at all, I only wish to clear a few things up.

    Maori are a people from the islands of Aotearoa (New Zealand). It used to be our land, unfortunately it was colonised by 18th century English.

    We have lost alot by ways of land, our language which during the 20th century was made illegal and our culture.

    This is just one reason why we protect our culture so much.

    1: Ta Moko or the Facial Tattoo is sacred and can only be obtained through our ancestors and our mana (pride).

    2: The Tattoo this Kitty is wearing is a Male Tattoo.

    3: The Nipples are Pounamu or Greenstone (If not the colour gives the wrong representation) which is Sacred to Many of our tribes and more importantly to Maori as a whole.

    Some cultures may liked to be used as a parody but not ours.. Our people have suffered enough already and are continuosly fighting to lose the tag of just being a “TOURIST ATTRACTION”.

    I ask for this site to please remove this picture immediately.

    I know alot of non-maori would not understand. We as a people are extremely happy that there is an interest in our image and our culture. But we must defend and protect that image.

    Please REMOVE….

    Thank you for your consideration.

  21. E hoa ma, please! Smile and educate!

    I’ve been watching aspects of our Maori heritage misunderstood by the ignorant but well-meaning for over 60 years. Believe me, Kiwis in general are a lot less ignorant and much more genuinely interested in our culture than they used to be. If you listen to audio from 50 years ago on National Radio’s Sunday night “Sounds Historical” you will cringe at the appallingly bad pronunciation of Maori words that was almost universal back then, not to mention the superficiality of what was said about us. Look at the accommodation ads in a 1950’s issue of the NZ Herald and notice how many bluntly said “No Maoris”! Younger Maori only see the remaining injustices and don’t realize how much things have improved in just one lifetime. You can’t legislate for better understanding – it comes from direct experience, and that only comes from one culture reaching out to the other. Maori have been doing exactly that for a long time. It’s a slow process, but it seems to be working.

    Try telling the All Blacks to stop doing “our” haka and you will only attract stinging criticism. Offer them a new haka and while there will be a few critics, most people will welcome that as one culture sharing its treasures with another.

    I value our culture too, but let’s be careful our grumbles aren’t alienating good people with a genuine interest in things Maori. As long as people are saying “Wow, that’s great!” I don’t mind too much that Hello Kitty Maori got a few things wrong, but please Joseph get your next bit of Maori artistry checked by someone who knows what’s authentic and what isn’t!

  22. Is it just me or does HK actually has a mouth?

    Oh yes… And very scary… Actually I find the whole body traditional painting of the Maori people a bit intimidating but cool at the same time.. But HK? It’s really tacky

  23. Rei, that isn’t body painting. It’s tattooing and it used to be done very painfully with tiny bone chisels. Of course our present-day tattooists use modern technology, and only a few people now have really extensive tattoos. Most of those you see today are small arm-bands or a few scrolls on the chin of a woman of rank.

    It was partly done to intimidate, and was partly a statement of identity. Every tribe had its own distinctive patterns so warriors knew friend from foe and spies were easily recognized.

  24. E nga mana, e nga reo, tena koutou katoa. Ki nga manuhiri o te ao whanui, tenei te mihi atu ki a koutou e matakitaki mai ana ki a matou nga tamariki a kui ma, a koro ma.

    Well, this is an interesting one. I have written papers on this exact topic that have been published in NZ and Japan and it is a pity that this picture was not around when I presented my paper to an International Syposium on Intellectual Property Law and Traditional Knowledge in Japan – I couldnt have asked for a more perfect example of the misappropriation of our cultural heritage.

    I have forwarded it to a fellow researcher at the Japanese Patent Office as an example of how recent amendments to NZ IP laws are ridiculously inadequate to prevent misappropriation of Maori traditional knowledge – HK will make a great poster girl for the new regime that many of us have been advocating for some time.

    Joseph, as a fellow artist and lover of Hello Kitty (I brought 6 back from Japan), I can understand where the inspiration came from. In Japan they have regional Hello Kitty with local animals as outfits that can only be purchased in that particular area. I suppose this is a somewhat bastardised version of the same concept.

    The problem as many others have pointed out is your lack of understanding and research into the culture that you have “borrowed” from. Many others have pointed out various issues such as the use of the male moko on a female entity (which you say was a deliberate artistic tool), but what concerns me most with this particular example is the lack of respect for the deep spirituality of the ta moko – as a person who has taken the moko I am greatly offended by this. A moko is not an appropriate “adornment” for a childs toy.

    I am not saying that you can never use Maori designs or create new art without being offensive. As one artist pointed out earlier, the problem is that you did not understand the meanings and complex relationships in what you have stolen. You cannot simply take one aspect of a culture and rip it from the context that gives it meaning and not expect to offend people – ask the guy who drew the cartoons of Mohammed.

    The point that I fear many, including many uneducated or uninformed Maori, do not understand is that we are responsible for the protection and preservation of our cultural heritage for our children and our children’s children yet to come. I for one refuse to be a member of the generation that stood by and let our sacred traditions and knowledge become fodder for foreign artists, marketing campaigns and fashion labels who dont have the decency to find out about the people they are stealing from. We can and we will fight this exploitation and misappropriation of our culture.

    All I have left to say to you Joseph is that if you consider yourself a true artist, inform yourself on the debate, inform yourself on the medium you have chosen to work in, and once you have I believe you will understand why we are offended.

    You obviously have talent, it would be a pity to waste in on creating art that belittles our culture, rather than celebrates it.

  25. KIA ORA KIA ORA maori here .. well i have to say its quite neat ive always loved hello kitty . um i dont like the fact that she has a male ta-moko on her face.

    and the greenstone nipples- not liking that thats bit too far fetched. umm but i love the piupiu /flax skirt . i love the hei tiki on her. its just a bit wrong is all having a male ta-moko on her face and her arms fully tattoed with uggly patterns that look not very maori. i think that if you make another one. put a female tamoko on her chinn because i believe it will DO GREAT ON THE MARKET IN NZ. there are many tourist and hello kitty fans in nz. and would Buy many of these on the store shelve,s i for one have no problem with the doll expect the male tamoko looks so wrong on this doll. and remembering also the meaning behind ta-moko and the understanding that my people wear them with respect and mana.

    handed down from generations long gone. those are the things to keep in mind. befor putting hello kitty out there to the world. keep doing your good works but do a bit more research., the doll should have a tipare on her cheast aswell and a piupiu/grass skirt we dont runn around toppless anymore that was the 18th century and then we always coverd up. cheers

  26. Kia ora e Riani.

    I LOVE your comments! Let’s celebrate who we are and invite the rest of the world to share our wonderful culture. And let’s help them to get it right like you’re doing!

    Aroha mai.

  27. kia ora alan 🙂 thanks yeah its all about education ayee gotta tell em how to go about it. how else will they ever know. if u make another one can i have a free one please lol …

  28. I think you had put a big “cultural disclaimer” on this if you intend to leave it on this site, Hello Kitty Hell. Joseph, you have appropriated symbols of deep meaning from a culture you don’t understand, and are trying to backpedal by saying that your mistake – namely putting the male moko on a female doll – is cultural commentary. Admit that you didn’t know what you were doing. Get an education – anyone Maori would be pleased to give you a bit of cultural instruction. You’re offensive and it’s sad because you’re not even being deliberately polemical – just ignorant.


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