A furore has erupted after young children wearing temporary moko were told they couldn't perform in the Christchurch Cultural Festival last week.
The festival decided to ban moko last year, following complaints about incorrect use.
The story got attention when a teacher from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whanau Tahi School made an emotional statement on social media about three children being told to take their moko off at the festival.
"The young boy, who was the original boy that had a moko on his face, he was our leader, it was him that was going to be stood down, told he couldn’t perform, the other two girls were to fix it," the teacher said in a Facebook video.
In 2016 children were allowed to perform with temporary moko, but last year the rules changed and schools signed an agreement that children wouldn't wear the facial tattoos.
Kapa haka leaders have told 1 NEWS the ban followed 30 complaints that the moko weren't authentic, but some are questioning the blanket ban.
"They go with absolute pride in their hearts and on their faces with the intent to showcase their culture and themselves and they potentially got shot down," Mokopapa organiser Huata Martindale told 1 NEWS.
Both the school and the Christchurch Primary Schools Festival Trust didn't want to comment, but said they're working through a process together.