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Playboy model criticized for posing for nude photo at summit of sacred New Zealand mountain

Jaylene Cook poses for a photo at the summit of Mount Taranaki in New Zealand.
Jaylene Cook poses for a photo at the summit of Mount Taranaki in New Zealand. Instagram

A Playboy model has angered New Zealand’s indigenous people after she posed naked for a photo at the summit of a sacred Maori mountain.

Jaylene Cook, 25, reached the summit of Mount Taranaki late last week and decided to strip and pose for a photo atop the volcano.

“WE DID IT!! This was BY FAR the hardest thing I have ever done! Both mentally and physically,” the model wrote on Instagram. “2 minutes out of the car park I was already hurting, sweating and ready to turn back. But it’s amazing what you can accomplish with the encouragement and support of your partner!”

READ MORE: Canadians plead guilty in Malaysian nudity case

According to New Zealand news website Stuff.co, Cook, who was born in New Zealand, was travelling the country with her photographer boyfriend Josh Shaw, who snapped the image of her.

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The photo apparently upset members of the local Maori, calling Cook’s decision to drop her clothing “insensitive.”

“It’s culturally insensitive and not what I would expect someone to do on the summit of Mt Taranaki,” Maori academic Dennis Ngawhare told the New Zealand news outlet.

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation describes Mount Taranaki as having “great spiritual significance to local Maori.”

“The crater and summit is the sacred head of Taranaki, the rocks and ridge are his bones, rivers his blood and plants and trees are his cloak and offer protection from the weather,” reads a description on the department’s website. “Respect the mountain. Do not stand directly on the summit stone, and do not litter or camp on the summit.”

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The model defended her decision to bare all at the 2,518-metre summit, saying they pair had done research before attempting the climb.

“[The photo’s] not crude or explicit in any way. We made ourselves knowledgeable on the history of the mountain. We were quite respectful,” Stuff.co quoted Cook as saying. Being nude is not something that is offensive in any way. It’s natural and pure and it’s about freedom and empowerment.”

However, speaking with BBC, Ngawhare said Cook’s actions were “very inappropriate.”

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“It’s like someone went into St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and took a nude photo,” Ngawhare told the BBC. “It’s a sacred place and something like this is just very inappropriate.”

This isn’t the first time a nude mountain photo-op has sparked outrage.

READ MORE: Nude Canadian climbers detained in Malaysia

In 2015, two Canadians were among a group of tourists who posed naked for photos atop Malaysia’s highest peak, Mount Kinabalu.

Saskatchewan siblings Lindsey Petersen and Danielle Petersen were sentenced to three days in jail and fined for obscene behaviour in a public place.

A Malaysian official blamed the naked tourists’ behaviour for a subsequent 5.9-magnitude earthquake that killed 13 people.