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Maori Made Mark: Much more than a logo


To: Chief Reporters, Arts Reporters, Mäori Affairs Reporters
Date: 24 January 2002

Preview of the Maori Made Mark:
Much more than a logo

The Maori Made Mark, which was conceived and designed by a team of senior Mäori artists led by master carver Dr Pakariki Harrison, will be launched at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tämaki on Friday, 8 February. Attached is a preview of the design in black and white.

Toi Iho refers to the core essence of the Mäori art culture, comprising its traditions and values, creativity and innovation, the preservation and sharing of knowledge through the generations, and an insistence on authenticity and quality.

The full-colour design and mauri (spiritual essence), incorporated in the carefully crafted trade mark, will be released and explained at the launch.

The Maori Made Mark is a registered trade mark akin to the Woolmark and developed by Creative New Zealand through its Mäori arts board, Te Waka Toi. The Mark is much more than a logo, it is a reputation-building exercise for Mäori art, it is a Mark of authenticity and quality for Mäori, for New Zealanders and for international buyers of Mäori artwork.

Elizabeth Ellis, Chair of Te Waka Toi, says that tourists to New Zealand are increasingly demanding authentic, quality Mäori artworks. The Mark, which will provide authenticity and an assurance of quality, will be used by Mäori artists to market, sell and present their work.

Contemporary and traditional Mäori arts – carving, weaving, sculpture, visual arts, multi-media, writing, jewellery, traditional weaponry, musical instruments, performance arts - will be covered by the trade mark.

The Mark is registered under 39 classes of goods and services, including 32 classes of goods and 7 classes of services. However, Creative New Zealand will be focussing on licensing artists to use the Mark for cultural products and performances of Mäori arts.

“The work of artists is extremely varied and dynamic and may push the boundaries of what people traditionally think of as art,” Ms Ellis says. “The Mark has been registered across a very wide range of classes because artists work across a whole spectrum of media and we have anticipated that unique finished artworks can encompass a wide range of media and materials.

“The registration does not give exclusive rights to those products. Rather, it gives Creative New Zealand the exclusive right to license people to use the Mark in connection with those products.”

For visual arts, craft and other art objects, the Mark will appear on a label (swing tag or sticker), signifying the works were produced by a person of Mäori descent and is a quality work. For performing arts, the Mark will be used on banners and promotional material.

“The Maori Made Mark is about letting buyers know what they are getting - authentic and quality Mäori art,” Ms Ellis says. “It’s part of a global trend for more detailed labelling on everything. Giving consumers as much information as possible is about being honest and enabling them to make informed choices.”

Speaking on Morning Report, Aroha Mead of Te Puni Kokiri, a specialist in cultural and intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples, said the Mark was part of a world-wide trend for indigenous peoples to authenticate their arts and imagery because of the amount of exploitation that existed.

Also on Morning Report, Koru Gallery co-owner Moana Eruera said that international customers were always asking whether the artist behind a particular artwork was Mäori. “Americans, for example, like to buy an artwork or a piece which also has some kind of story or some kind of whakapapa that goes with it.”

Te Arawa artist June Grant is also a retailer and leading figure in the New Zealand tourism industry. She constantly profiles Mäori art both nationally and internationally.

“As a retailer, I sell Mäori art offshore and it is generating huge foreign exchange for New Zealand. Mäori artists using the Mark will be able to command a premium price for their work because they will have a standard of excellence recognised by galleries, retailers and art dealers.

“We are tired of people acquiring what is actually ours and as an artist, I would never dream of using other people’s cultural icons and designs. The Maori Made Mark is about integrity both for the artist and the person wanting to buy authentic, high-quality Mäori art.

“This is the culmination of a 20-year dream by Mäori to have a benchmark, a standing to which all Mäori artists can aspire. I applaud the commitment and integrity that Te Waka Toi has shown in initiating the Maori Made Mark.”

For further information:
Reuben Wharawhara
Communications Adviser
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04-498 0727

Undine Marshfield
Media and Communications Adviser
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04-498 0725, 025-965 925

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