An Auckland festival is taking a stance on cultural appropriation by urging attendees to steer clear of Native American headdresses and bindis as part of party costumes.

Splore, an annual boutique music and arts festival, wants attendees to ditch culturally sensitive items when picking attire for the dress up party on the event's second day.

Organisers say the purpose was to have an open conversation about the global concerns around festival wear and cultural appropriation.

The organisers are asking attendees to "think twice" before donning Native American war bonnets.


A statement on the event website compares wearing a feathered headdress to wearing a medal you didn't earn.

"It's disrespectful and it belittles the people who actually earned them," the statement read.

They also discouraged the use of bindis.

"Wearing a bindi on the forehead is an ancient Hindu tradition with deep religious significance, not a cute festival accessory.

"Non-Hindu women wearing bindis, or non-indigenous people wearing 'tribal style' facepaint: these things can make others feel disrespected."

Using a person's cultural heritage as a party costume could be hurtful and was easy to avoid, the page explained.

Event spokeswoman Suzanne McNamara said the stance wasn't an outright ban, but an encouragement for attendees to choose their outfits with care.

"A lot of people don't realise. And these headdresses do look amazing but it's not appropriate for someone in New Zealand to be wearing them."


McNamara believed that the stance fits in with a "global movement" against cultural appropriation.

People had taken exception to this kind of attire before, McNamara said, so this year the festival had made moves to prevent issues before they cropped up.

The Auckland festival is not the first to take a stance on the misuse of cultural attire and stereotypes.

The Osheaga Arts & Music Festival in Canada said in 2015 it would not allow attendees to wear First Nations headdresses because of their cultural and spiritual meaning to the indigenous people of Canada.

"The First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities and to respect and honor their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory."

ÎleSoniq, the electronic music festival held in Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, also adhered to the same guidelines.

Canada dance festival Bass Coast also banned feather headdresses as did English festival Glastonbury in 2015.

Splore will be held between February 23 and 25 on the shores of Tapapakanga Regional Park.