A video showing Prime Minister Bill English appearing to ignore a group of Maori school children perform a haka at a netball game has sparked outrage online, with many labelling him disrespectful.

While the person who posted the video on Facebook said the haka was performed in honour of English's presence, a spokesperson for Netball NZ said this was not the case.

A spokesperson for English said he divided his time between watching the performance and speaking to the person next to him.

The video shows children performing in the half-time break at the Pulse vs Steel netball game in Wellington, as English seems to ignore them in favour of speaking to the person seated next to him.

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He also did not appear to clap at the end of the performance.

The woman filming the video said English had not once looked at the group while they performed.

"This is the kind of guy we have running the country . . . and who wants us to vote for him come election time," said Teri Ross, the person who posted the video on Facebook on behalf of her friend.

Prime Minister Bill English appeared to be ignoring haka performers during the half-time break at a netball game. Photo / File
Prime Minister Bill English appeared to be ignoring haka performers during the half-time break at a netball game. Photo / File

The video has so far been viewed more than 42,000 times, with more than 500 shares.

Sharna-Lee Haimona, who took the video, told the Herald that even though the haka wasn't specifically performed for English, it was still disrespectful of him to not pay attention.

"I thought it was rude. I think I really just wanted to raise awareness of how important it was to acknowledge those who are performing for you or acknowledge biculturalism. I felt sorry for them that he wasn't watching," she said.

She said she did not see English look at the performance at all.

"I'm not saying that he didn't look up in the split second that I wasn't looking or whatever," she said.

Online commenters posted insults and denounced English's behaviour.

"He's a fill-in for someone who eventually couldn't handle the heat. He won't be our next PM," Takurua Tangitu commented on the video.

Rebecca Roulston commented, saying "How rude. I don't know much about him but he doesn't sound up to the job."

Catherine Baker said "That is the most blatant show of disrespect at it's worst !!! He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself!!!"

A Netball NZ spokesman said the haka was not performed for English.

It was organised some time ago and was the regular half-time entertainment for the game.