Rotorua bar owner Tamati Coffey says he has no qualms about having a cocktail named Hinemoa and Tutanekai on his cocktail list.

Mr Coffey, who co-owns the Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar on Eat Streat with his partner Tim Smith, said in his view his use of the Te Arawa legends' names was different to an Auckland brewery's controversial use of their images on beer because he was Te Arawa and a descendant of Hinemoa and he had consulted whanau before naming the cocktail.

He said it was quite funny to see it questioned by media as "most of Rotorua and Te Arawa have been into our bar and tried it".

Mr Coffey said nobody had batted an eyelid up until now.


"It's been quite interesting for me to watch this all unfold.

"People from here have understood. I am from here, I am a direct descendant."

Mr Coffey said when he was contemplating the name he asked his whanau's opinion who were "nothing but supportive".

"They said these are your ancestors, their blood is in you."

Mr Coffey said he had some sympathy for Birkenhead Brewery Company which said it had consulted with iwi in Birkenhead and several experts on Maori culture.

"The process that they followed was well intended but completely missed the mark."

He said if the brewery had followed the correct process, there might have been more support for it.

Mr Coffey said if he had been able to meet with the brewers face-to-face and understood their intentions on why they were using the imagery he might even have stocked the beer in his bar.

"There is a really big grey area. If you are going to use Maori imagery, Maori myth, tupuna you have got to have regards to where the story came from."

Mr Coffey believed many Te Arawa had drunk his cocktail and had no issue with it, but also conceded there would be some who had a problem with the name.

He said the controversy had made him think about the cocktail, but he would not be removing it or changing its name.

"I am as resolute as the day we decided to put it on the menu."

The Auckland brewery today apologised for any offence caused by its Hinemoa and Mokoia beer, and said it is now working with local Maori to change the labels.

The $12.50 Hinemoa and Tutanekai cocktail contains Malibu, Midori, pineapple juice and lemonade. Other locally-inspired drinks on Ponsonby Rd's menu include Mokoia Island Iced Tea, Tarawera Sunrise and Ngongotaha Dew Drops.