A Hawke's Bay seafood company's 15 per cent discount for iwi has attracted controversy with some customers claiming a race-based discount is unfair.
Ngati Kahungunu says it is saddened by the reaction, and is offering the discount because Takitimu Seafoods was owned by iwi and all its 32,000 members had a shared stake in the company.
Takitimu Seafoods - the former Hawke's Bay Seafoods purchased by Ngati Kahungunu iwi and rebranded earlier this year - has started advertising the discount in its popular Hastings and Napier stores.
The discount is for in-store purchases only, and includes wet fish as well as deep fried products.
To qualify for the 15 per cent discount, you must be the holder of a Ngati Kahungunu Iwi membership card.
It's a decision that has upset some customers, with some claiming the discount is discriminatory.
Discounting fried foods for customers has also raised questions around the iwi's diabetes and heart disease rates.
Health Hawke's Bay board chairman Bayden Barber, who is of Ngati Kahungunu descent, said offering the discounts was another way for iwi to give back to its people.
But he suggested iwi members use the discount in moderation and also look at the healthier option of wet fish over deep fried fish and chips.
"Our stats with diabetes and heart disease are not good so we don't want to encourage our people to be eating it breakfast, lunch and tea.
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"Fish in itself is a very good diet for people but the stuff that is deep fried in batter is what we mostly want to avoid."
Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull said in general, there needed to be more focus on promoting healthy food options.
In a worst case scenario, people may choose fried food over healthy dinners.
"Anything offering discounts on the likes of fresh fish and fruits and vegetables is great, but when we have discounts that are promoting deep fried foods that are high in salt it isn't good at all."
She congratulated the iwi for offering the wet fish discount.
"I feel that they have a real opportunity to offer the discount to encourage people to purchase the wet fish instead of the deep fried fish and chips."
Hawke's Bay's heart disease, diabetes and obesity rates have long been disproportionately high in the region's Māori population.
Between 2013 and 2015 heart failure admission rates to Hawke's Bay Hospital were 4.3 times higher for Māori than non-Māori.
Ngati Kahungunu said in a statement that Takitimu Seafoods was owned by iwi and all its 32,000 members had a shared stake in the company.
"We hope that this information helps people discern why we have this opportunity for our people.
"It's not about being racist at all and it is very sad that some people have this view."
Ngati Kahungunu member Raelene Warner said having the discounts not only from Takitimu Seafoods but other places also is just a clear way for the iwi to give back to its people.
"To be honest it's really a bonus for us and shows iwi giving something back to its members, who are us and those that are part of iwi."
Warner, who runs a small catering business, said it would help provide towards that by being able to go and buy discounted fresh fish from the store.
She says that there had been a lot of backlash from people around the issue but as they see it it's a matter of a business offering discounts to its members.
A Human Rights Commission spokesperson said there were exceptions for singling out certain races for ethnicities for special treatment.
"There can be lawful reasons for charging differential prices for goods and services, such as being a shareholder or owner of a vendor agency, or being part of a discount or loyalty card scheme."