A German insurance company has come under fire after using a haka in an television advertisement.

Hundreds of comments have emerged on Facebook labelling the ad as cultural appropriation.

"Incredibly embarrassing, like here is a thousand-year-old tradition being abused. The haka is unique and should stay this way," wrote Yannick Steinschek on Facebook.

"This is a gross appropriation of a culture of indigenous peoples to sell insurance. I am disgusted," wrote Harriet Myles.

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The ARAG insurance company defended the use of the haka in the ad saying it was respecting the tradition and had worked with a haka specialist to make it.

"With its rhythm, impressive gestures and facial expressions, haka is ideally suited to bring our messages across," said a company representative.