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A Turkish immigrant claims New Zealand police can't tell the difference between fighting and dancing after he was charged with assault while celebrating with his wife.

A judge has told police to study a cultural Turkish video showing the kolbasti dance before deciding whether to proceed with the case.

Kebab shop owner Allaetin Can was arrested after a passerby reported he was hitting, kicking and strangling his wife outside their shop in the North Island town of Hawera, the Taranaki Daily News said.

But when he appeared in court, Mr Can argued that he and his wife, Elmas, were merely performing the traditional Turkish dance kolbasti, which loosely translated means "caught red-handed by the police" and involves energetic movements.

Mr Can said he and his wife and two teenage children danced out of their kebab shop into a car park after a particularly profitable lunch shift.

"We're always dancing. I'm happy to dance with my wife and my family, what's wrong with that," he was quoted as saying in the report.

"People here understand fighting, not dancing. It's our culture."

The judge gave police two weeks to study a DVD of the kolbasti and if they accepted the Cans were involved in an innocent dance, then the charge would be withdrawn.