Company director Terina Puriri said she employed a range of nationalities, including French and Israelis, because local Maori were not willing to promote their heritage.
Port of Tauranga commercial manager Graeme Marshall said the group was removed because of a security breach. "The representation of who came through the gate into the port did not match up with their identification."
But, even with the correct paperwork, the group may not be allowed back.
The other issues ... to be taken into account would be the authenticity of what they're representing," said Marshall, who feared the port could receive "international condemnation" if non-Maori were representing Maori culture. Using non-Maori posing as Maori was an insult to Maori nationwide, he said.