Miss World New Zealand contestant Deborah Lambie has been heavily criticised after uploading a video of herself performing a haka on her Facebook.
The model and newly qualified doctor was performing the traditional war dance at a Miss World competition in China last week.
Lambie told BuzzFeed News she learned the process of performing the haka over four months, being trained by Kereama Te Ua who is a lecturer in Maori Performing Arts at Whitirea College in Wellington.
The video has been shared from her Facebook hundreds of times and in the process has racked up plenty of comments - both positive and negative
Many were upset she chose to perform a haka at all, saying it was insensitive and "embarrassing," while some New Zealanders criticised her pronunciation and movement.
There were also a few people who criticised Lambie for being a woman and performing the haka, despite the fact it was women who traditionally first did the haka in New Zealand.
"People are entitled to their own opinions," said Lambie in response to the comments. "I did my best job on the day, learned from an expert and am proud of the performance."
Lambie also said the haka was really well received in China. "Over here, people love New Zealand and loved the performance... it really stood out and people are very interested to learn more about us!"
In November, Lambie uploaded a video of her teacher, Kereama Te Ua, explaining the symbolism of the haka.
"I first had a look at her personality and her approach to Maori culture," he said. "Deb was very open and very respectful of our practices and our culture, so it made it really easy for me to open my heart and my culture to her."
"I took her right into the traditional depths of Maori performing arts... I have trained her in the traditional art form of haka. The haka was first performed by women, so it's only right she is using the haka as a New Zealander and as a representation of our collective history of Maori and Pakeha working together and being able to showcase that to the world. It's been an absolute privilege and honour to work with this lady. I'm really, really proud of her work."