Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Rotorua bar changes name of controversial cocktail

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Birkenhead Brewing Company's Hinemoa Pacific Pale Ale (left) and Mokoia Pilsner. The beer labels caused a storm of controversy last week.
Birkenhead Brewing Company's Hinemoa Pacific Pale Ale (left) and Mokoia Pilsner. The beer labels caused a storm of controversy last week.

The owners of Eat Streat's Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar in Rotorua have renamed a controversial cocktail named after Te Arawa ancestors.

Tamati Coffey and Tim Smith, the bar's owners, said they had a change of heart on the weekend and because of the controversy changed the name of their Hinemoa and Tutanekai cocktail to "number 5".

Last week, Auckland-based Birkenhead Brewery Company received widespread criticism about two of its beer bottle labels that depicted Rotorua lovers Hinemoa and Tutanekai.

It later issued an apology and pulled its product from shelves around the country while it rethinks its labelling.

At the same time, Ponsonby Road's Hinemoa and Tutanekai cocktail came under question with Mr Coffey saying he no qualms about the cocktail's name as he was related to Hinemoa and his customers had no problem with it.

Mr Coffey said he had called for feedback on his Facebook page "hoping for constructive conversation on all sides".

"That wasn't what was received on other platforms where the issue was covered."

"While I'm thankful for all the support and well-constructed comments, I'm currently talking with my hapu, Ngati Te Roro o Te Rangi, about how better to incorporate our local stories into our business as I feel our culture is truly something to be visibly proud of."

Te Arawa kaumatua Sir Toby Curtis commended both Ponsonby Road and the brewing company saying they had made an innocent mistake and should be commended for their swift action to rectify the situation.

"It's quite obvious that they did not see it as against the wishes of our people until it happened and they were doing it in total innocence."

"I suppose everyone all round have to be commended for their efforts in remedying the situation, Tamati, the beer company and the people who pointed it out in the first place," Sir Toby said.

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