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Te Waka Toi to launch Maori Made Mark

Te Waka Toi to launch Maori Made Mark in Auckland

The Maori Made Mark, a trade mark recognising the authenticity and quality of artworks by Mäori, will be launched at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tämaki on Friday, 8 February.

Elizabeth Ellis, Chair of Te Waka Toi, the Mäori arts board of Creative New Zealand, says the launch of the Maori Made Mark will be a landmark event for New Zealanders.

“The Maori Made Mark is an exciting and reputation-building initiative for Mäori art,” Ms Ellis says. “It is a positive expression of tino rangatiratanga and recognises the value of Mäori art to New Zealand. It also means that New Zealanders and overseas visitors can be assured they are purchasing authentic, quality artworks by our outstanding Mäori artists.”

The Maori Made Mark is a registered trade mark akin to the Woolmark. It was developed by Creative New Zealand through Te Waka Toi as part of its Seriously Mäori strategy, and will be used by Mäori artists to market, sell and present their works.

“The Mark will help create a demand for authentic, quality artworks, enabling many of our artists to command a premium price for their work,” Ms Ellis says.

Over the past 20 years, Mäori have been calling for a trade mark to help them retain ownership and control of their täonga – Mäori knowledge, imagery and designs. The result of extensive consultation, the actual Mark was conceived and designed by a group of senior Mäori artists led by Dr Pakariki Harrison.

“At the launch, we’ll be revealing the design and explaining the values it encapsulates,” Ms Ellis says. “We’ll also be talking about the many practical benefits to Mäori artists and its significance for New Zealand.”

Speaking to Mäori artists at a hui on the Maori Made Mark earlier this year, weaver Erenora Puketapu-Hetet said: “The Mark will help us in the marketplace. It will help us survive as artists and ensure our täonga from Aotearoa are never lost.”

For writer Witi Ihimaera, the Maori Made Mark will “validate, authenticate and recognise, both nationally and internationally, Mäori art and artists”.

When the Mark is attached (eg as a swing tag) to Mäori artworks, it will mean that the works are authentic and of a quality standard, as assessed by a panel of Mäori artform specialists.

The Mark will:

 assist Mäori artists to market and sell their works
 assist buyers to easily identify authentic, quality works by Mäori
 assist retailers to buy and sell works that are made and endorsed by Mäori
 assist Mäori to control the production and sales of those works that are authenticated by the Mark
 increase awareness of Mäori art and culture among New Zealanders, and internationally.

Auckland is an ideal place to launch the Mark because of its large population of Mäori and Mäori artists, Ms Ellis says. “With the Aotearoa Traditional Mäori Performing Arts Festival a fortnight later, the launch will be an excellent opportunity to promote this important kaupapa to one of our target audiences.”

Te Waka Toi will be the kaitiaki (guardian) of the Maori Made Mark while it is within Creative New Zealand. A future goal is to transfer the Mark to an autonomous Mäori entity once it is well-established.

Mäori artists will apply to Te Waka Toi to use the Mark within Te Waka Toi’s existing project funding rounds.

“For the first year, there will be no cost for Mäori artists applying to register with the Mark,” Ms Ellis says. “In following years, there will be a fee to cover the cost of administration and management.”


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