AZIZ AL-SA'AFIN: Playboy model's nude Mt Taranaki photo the best advertising we've had in a long time

04/05/2017
Let's all take a chill pill over Playboy model Jaylene Cook's nude photo on top of Mt Taranaki.

The Playmate caused an avalanche online when she posted the photo on Instagram, which was taken while touring the country with her photographer boyfriend Josh Shaw.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm all for cultural sensitivity, but let's not wrap New Zealand in cotton wool.

Our complaining has made headlines around the world with everyone from The Sun to the BBC pointing out our distaste with Cook's Instagram post.

So why has it been deemed disrespectful by some?

Māori regard Mt Taranaki as a sacred burial site and the mountain itself an ancestor.

The point of contention is actually what Cook was doing, not her lack of attire at the time. Māori believe climbing to the top of the peak is inappropriate and only done for rare ceremonial occasions - this obviously not being one of them.

But (or should that be 'butt'), in the grand scheme of things Cook could have done (let's remember her line of work), this was certainly the least inappropriate.
In my opinion, littering or polluting the summit would be more disrespectful.

Just remember that NZ-born Cook has more than 300,000 followers on her page. Her photo, posted five days ago, has clocked more than 10,000 likes and climbing.

Bottom line – that's advertising money can't buy.

Cook's since come out and apologised if she caused any offence. She says she's had support from local Māori who say they weren't offended at all.

"There was nowhere that we read or were told that it was a bad thing to do, and we believe that it still wasn't. We see nudity as art and pure and natural," she said.

I think the photo is tasteful and generally quite a beautiful image and we should be celebrating the fact Taranaki is currently on the world stage.

If you've got it, flaunt it.

Aziz Al-Sa'afin is The AM Show's social media correspondent.

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