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Language Commission supports use of Mäori terms

For Immediate Release:

8 November 2001

Language Commission supports use of Mäori terms

"The New Zealand Government could lead the way for the rest of the world in dealing with intellectual and cultural property rights if it looked outside the square," says Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mäori Chief Executive Haami Piripi.

"Issues surrounding the use of Mäori terms are not going to go away. The government needs to establish a framework for the commercial sector, particularly advertisers and marketers, in the use of Mäori words and other intellectual and cultural property.

"Use of Mäori words by multinational companies such as Lego, Microsoft and in our own backyard, Canterbury for new and innovative products, is a signal that the Mäori language is an attractive marketing tool. As I have said before we need to use it or lose it, so where Iwi Mäori appropriately endorses its use, we support it.

"Government investment in the area of intellectual and cultural property rights ought to provide an opportunity for Iwi Mäori to manage their own intellectual property, as meaningful stakeholders, not just a tick in a box when it is needed. The Crown could quite easily take control of this situation if it acknowledged that Iwi have an important role to play and are able to manage their own Cultural Intellectual Property. Creating an infrastructure to protect the use of Mäori terms in the marketplace is a priority for Mäori and should be for Government. The setting up of a national body of Iwi Mäori, to make determinations about the use of Mäori terms is a good idea. As a Commission our role is to quality assure, promote and progress the language, we want it to grow, with the support of iwi Mäori.

"We have become entangled in this debate to a small degree by one firm claiming that the Commission gave approval to use certain terms. As a Crown Entity we cannot speak on behalf of Mäori, it is impossible for us to do so. The mandate of the Mäori people cannot come from us, that is not our job. If the government wanted some certainty in this area they would engage in meaningful discussion with claimants of the Wai 262 Intellectual Property claim to the Waitangi Tribunal. What we need now is leadership that is able to accept the challenge and take the next step by resourcing an infrastructure that enables Iwi Mäori to make their own decisions about cultural and intellectual property.

Ends

For further information contact:

Haami Piripi Lana Simmons-Donaldson Chief Executive/Kaiwhakahaere Matua Communications Advisor/Kaiwhitiwhiti Körero Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mäori Phone: 04 471 0244 Phone: 04 4710244 DDL: 04 471 6724 Fax: 04 471 2768 lana@tetaurawhiri.govt.nz www.tetaurawhiri.govt.nz

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