An Auckland man says Apple's face recognition technology does not work with his moko kanohi.
Paaka Edwards saved up $2000 to buy an iPhone 13 Pro Max in November last year.
He read up about the model before making the purchase and there was no mention of issues with facial markings, he said.
Edwards also understood the phone's recognition function was based on a special technology that scanned the contours of a person's face.
"So I go to set up face ID and the message that comes up is 'face obscured, please remove masking and then try again' and I was like what? No way," he said.
He had no luck troubleshooting online, so called Apple.
After hours spent on the phone and several exchanges, he eventually took the 13 Pro Max back to where he bought it from.
Edwards got a brand new phone, which was the same model but from a different batch, and took it home only to find he had the same problem.
He ended up getting a refund and went to a different store and purchased a third phone from another batch.
Edwards had the same problem and got back on the phone to Apple.
After speaking with various people and providing video footage of an attempt to use the face recognition technology, Edwards said he was eventually told there was nothing wrong with the phone.
Edwards took to social media to raise his concerns and received more than a dozen messages from people with moko kanohi who said the function didn't work for them either.
But he also received messages from people with other tattoos on their face who said the technology worked for them.
Others told him to get over it.
"But I invested in it (the phone) because it's a piece of modern technology that should be able to be used by everyone," Edwards said.
He said Apple should issue a statement clarifying the technology did not work for indigenous facial markings.
"That would be a great first step and the second thing would be to work with us, so it does include us."
He described himself as a loyal Apple customer.
"I don't want to stop using my iPhone, but I also don't want to be left behind and also for our people to think it's going to be ok when they get their moko kanohi and they try to use their phones and it doesn't work."
An Apple spokesperson said a member of their team would contact Edwards and directed the Herald to information about the technology online.
Edwards confirmed an Apple representative had got in touch with him after the Herald made enquiries.
Apple's website said its face identification technology worked by projecting and analysing thousands of invisible dots to create a depth map of someone's face, as well as capturing an infrared image.
The technology automatically adapts to changes in someone's appearance, such as wearing cosmetic makeup or facial hair.
It's designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contact lenses, and many sunglasses. It can even work in total darkness, the website said.
It has more recently been designed to work with masks with iOS 15.4 and iPhone 12 or later.