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toi iho™ Maori Made in stores from July - Images

toi iho™ Maori Made Mark
in New Zealand stores from July 2002

The first recipients of the toi iho™ Maori Made Mark, a registered trademark denoting authenticity and quality, have been announced, and the distinctive toi iho™ labels, swingtags and stickers will start appearing on Mäori arts and crafts in New Zealand retail stores from late July 2002.


A major promotional initiative for Mäori arts and artists, the trademark was developed by Te Waka Toi, Creative New Zealand’s Mäori arts board, in consultation with Mäori artists.

Elizabeth Ellis, Chair of Te Waka Toi and the toi iho™ Assessment Committee, says the toi iho™ Mark is part of a world-wide trend to distinguish the art of indigenous peoples. “Mäori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, and Mäori arts and culture are unique to this country. They are a vital point of difference for New Zealand, and a key purpose of this trademark is to identify and recognise these unique works.”

There are two trademark licensing rounds per year. Te Waka Toi received 51 applications in the first round and the applicants’ work was assessed by a panel of experienced Mäori artform specialists. “We’re delighted that so many high-calibre artists applied in this first licensing round,” Ms Ellis says. “A total of 38 artists and 6 licensed stockists have become the inaugural users of the Mark.”

Among the first 38 Mäori artists to be awarded the toi iho™ Maori Made Mark are carvers, sculptors, a fashion designer, a furniture designer, weavers, jewellers and multimedia artists.

This is the beginning of a major initiative for Mäori art and artists, which will have significant long-term benefits for Mäori artists and New Zealand’s tourism industry. George Hickton, Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand, says: “The toi iho™ Maori Made Mark is a selling point for New Zealand. Mäori culture is an important part of what makes New Zealand a unique place in the world and the authenticity of what we can offer visitors is an integral part of this.”

The toi iho ™ Mark is aimed at the domestic market, international tourists and tourism interests, and means people will be able to identify high-quality, authentic Mäori art. “These inaugural users are the first link in a chain involving Mäori artists, retailers, consumers, tourism operators, tourists and art buyers - a chain that will take a number of years to establish,” Ms Ellis says.

The toi iho™ Mark marketing campaign directed at consumers begins in July this year and peaks over the summer months.

The toi iho™ Maori Made Mark is exclusively for artists of Mäori descent. The artists awarded this Mark include: Taranaki carver Rangi Kipa (Taranaki, Atiawa, Maniapoto, Ngati Toa); Auckland furniture designer Carin Wilson (Ngati Awa, Ngati Rongomai); Dargaville jeweller Alex Nathan (Te Roroa, Ngati Torehina, Ngapuhi, Ngati Rongo, Ngati Whatua); Auckland weaver Kahu Te Kanawa (Ngati Maniapoto); Sydney-based jeweller Mark Brochas-Reti (Ngapuhi, Tainui); Kawerau multimedia artist Grace Voller (Ngati Awa, Te Arawa); Dunedin carver Ewan Duff (Ngai Tahu, Te Atiawa); Christchurch pounamu carver Jeffrey Mahuika (Ngai Tahu); Auckland fashion designer Charles Walker (Ngati Kahungunu); and Wellington carver Jim Wiki (Te Aupouri).

Christall Raukawa Rata (Ngati Maniapoto, Tainui, Ngati Raukawa) and Michael Sly have been awarded the toi iho™ Maori Co-production Mark for a project involving fibre art and graphic design. This Mark is for Mäori and non-Mäori artists and businesses working collaboratively to produce, present or perform works across artforms. Rata, a Wellington artist and former Te Waka Toi Scholarship recipient, has been successful in creating hapene, a form of fibre art made from harakeke (flax). Rata and Sly plan to use the toi iho™ Co-Production Mark to help them market hapene nationally and internationally.

“Contemporary Mäori art is open to all sorts of influences,” Ms Ellis says. “The Co-production Mark recognises cross-cultural influences, and the innovation and cutting-edge work that often results from such collaborations.”

In this first licensing round, six retail outlets became licensed stockists of the iho™ Maori Made Mark. They are: Maori Treasures, Lower Hutt; Te Toi Manawa, Coromandel; Best of Maori Tourism, Rotorua; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; Artmaori Ltd, New Plymouth; Globe Gallery, Napier.

This means when potential buyers go into any of these stores, they will be able to easily identify authentic Mäori artworks and crafts by the distinctive toi iho™ labels, swingtags or stickers.

As well as the licences awarded by the toi iho Assessment Committee, Te Waka Toi, Creative New Zealand’s Mäori arts board, has honoured a number of distinguished Mäori artists with the title Te Ara Whakarei, which entitles them to honorary use of the Mark. Among the artists are Michael Parekowhai, Peter Robinson, Cliff Whiting, Dr Pakaariki Harrison, Witi Ihimaera, Gavin Bishop, Robin Kahukiwa, Patricia Grace and Manos Nathan.

The Mark has been welcomed by the first recipients. Dargaville silversmith Alex Nathan sells his work through New Zealand and overseas galleries. For him, receiving the toi iho™ Maori Made Mark is an affirmation of the standard of his work. He also believes it will open up new markets in North America and Europe.

“The toi iho initiative is to be applauded because of its guarantee of authenticity and excellence,” he said. “It recognises the uniqueness of Mäori art and will also raise its profile and potential.”

This is reinforced by Auckland furniture designer Carin Wilson. “The toi iho™ Mark is a brilliant concept. The originators have done a great thing in providing our artists with a vehicle to balance the way art is defined and understood in Aotearoa. This is no simple task, given the historic background to our development as a nation.

"For me as an artist, there’s an opportunity to affirm my deep respect and appreciation of a taonga tuku, a context in which I am able to develop my own creativity.”

Christall Raukawa Rata says she applied for the Mark to help strengthen the identity of her work. “I decided to use the toi iho Mark in the brand identity of hapene, which will also strengthen the existing patent I have for the material and its process. The Mark authenticates and guarantees that you are the creator of the work, and that it was made by a person of Mäori descent.”

June Grant, a member of the assessment panel, is also a Te Arawa artist, a retailer and leading figure in the New Zealand tourism industry. She is constantly selling Mäori art offshore and says the introduction of the toi iho Maori Made Mark will make a major contribution to the New Zealand economy.

“Mäori art generates huge foreign exchange for New Zealand,” she says. “This Mark is about integrity both for the artist and for the person wanting to buy authentic, high-quality Mäori art.”

There are two toi iho™ Mark licensing rounds a year. The next closing date for toi iho™ Mark applications is 9 August 2002.


For a further information please contact:

Undine Marshfield
Media and Communications Advisor
Creative New Zealand
04 498 0725 / 025 965 925

Reuben Wharawhara
Media and Communications Advisor
Creative New Zealand
04 498 0727

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