Playboy model's nude shoot on sacred New Zealand volcano angers Maori community

Playboy model Jaylene Cook posed nude near the top of Mount Taranaki, which is considered to be sacred by the local Maori community.
Playboy model Jaylene Cook posed nude near the top of Mount Taranaki, which is considered to be sacred by the local Maori community. PHOTO: JAYLENE COOK/INSTAGRAM

AUCKLAND - A Playboy model has provoked the ire of the local Maori community after she posted a photograph of herself naked near the top of a volcano on social media.

Ms Jaylene Cook, 25, had hiked up Mount Taranaki in New Zealand's North Island with her partner, photographer Josh Shaw, a few days ago.

Insisting that the photo was "natural and pure", she said she and Mr Shaw had researched the mountain's significance beforehand and took care to avoid the summit.

"(The photo) is not crude or explicit in any way", she told stuff.co.nz.

Mount Taranaki, also named Mount Egmont by the British explorer James Cook, has a summit of 2,518m. The top of the volcano is sacred for the Maori.

The photo, posted on Ms Cook's Instagram account which has almost 300,000 followers, shows her gazing into the distance, wearing nothing but her shoes, gloves and a snow cap.

The local Maori have called the photo "insensitive" and "very inappropriate".

Speaking to the BBC, a local Maori tribe spokesman, Mr Dennis Ngawhare, said: "It's like someone went into St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and took a nude photo."

 

Visitors who climb the mountain are urged to pay respect and avoid the rock at the top of the mountain. It is considered the burial ground of the tribe's ancestors and the mountain itself is also seen as an ancestor.

This is not the first time a nude photo on a mountain has caused controversy.

Four Western tourists were arrested in June 2015 for taking nude photos on a popular climbing peak at Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu, an act which the local community blamed for causing a deadly earthquake that killed 18 people on June 5 that year.

They were fined and jailed for three days before being deported.