Colin Mathura-Jeffree has taken to Twitter to debunk myths about the "Nazi" symbol.

On October 7, the Kiwi model tweeted: "I look at the #swastika as a beautiful symbol of my culture that the Nazi filth's time to return what's ours #ReclaimtheSwastika".

Today Mathura-Jeffree told the Herald about the swastika's history in Hinduism and Buddhism.

"It's actually part of ancient Aryan Indian symbolism. What the Nazis did was they stole a lot of the ancestral culture of India. They didn't even change the name.


"Swastika is a Sanskrit word. I know girls called Swastika."

Derived from the Sanskrit words "su", meaning good, and "asti" (being), "swastika" can be roughly translated as "well being" in English.

Mathura-Jeffree said he wrote the impassioned tweet after he overheard someone in central Auckland tell their friend the symbol was disgusting.

"It's an embarrassment when people make a statement when they don't know the history. Sometimes people, I've noticed, don't want the truth; they just want to argue."

Mathura-Jeffree, who has Anglo-Indian heritage, said when he was growing up he was surrounded by images of swastikas in Hindu books.

"I just love the dimension of my culture - the ancient civilisations, the mystery behind the different religions."

What the Nazis had done with the swastika, he said, was "pretty serious cultural appropriation" and he hoped reclaiming the symbol as a positive icon would remove power from the fascist regime.

Another New Zealand star - actor and comedian Madeleine Sami - added her voice to the cause, replying to Mathura-Jeffree's tweet: "ABSOLUTELY! I'M ON THIS MISH TOO MAN!"