Statement to Altria Group From Shane Bradbrook
Statement to Altria Group
Shane Kawenata Bradbrook Director Te Reo Marama (Maori Smokefree Coalition)
My name is irrelevant but my culture is not!
I am Maori, a native New Zealander. I am here to represent Maori in the matter of Philip Morris International using our culture to sell tobacco products.
In 2005, it came to our organisations attention that PMI was selling a product in Israel called Maori Mix under the L & M brand.
Let me tell you, this product called 'Maori Mix' was an absolute affront to my people! Your company’s misappropriation and exploitation of our culture to sell your product of death and illness to Israelis was at a minimum culturally insensitive – and at worst another form of oppression and abuse that indigenous peoples have faced for decades.
I stand before you to hold you in absolute contempt and derision. I don't expect a weak apology or some glib rationale from you for associating our culture with Maori Mix. But I do have a message for you:
The message from my culture and my people is clear:
DO NOT MISREPRESENT DO NOT ASSOCIATE OUR PROUD CULTURE WITH YOUR DECEITFUL PRACTICES AND PRODUCT
It's simple really, if it looks like and smells like exploitation it is exploitation!
In closing, as I said I am but one representative of my people but I am surrounded by my ancestors and the good thoughts and support of thousands in my homeland.
We have a well known phrase in my language:
KA WHAWHAI TONU MATOU
WE WILL CONTINUE THE STRUGGLE
I stand here in that tradition of resistance and struggle to this affront and exploitation of my people!