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"Maori Made" - Economic Benefits To NZ Artists

"Maori Made" Mark Will Bring Huge Economic Benefits To New Zealand Artists

"The Maori Made mark will see New Zealand artists – Maori and Pakeha - able to earn a decent income from their work," says Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, Judith Tizard.

"In attacking this initiative, Winston Peters is being his usual, small-minded self.

"He says it will do no good for Maori. He has obviously not talked to any Maori organisations nor to Maori artists who identified this project as one of their highest priorities in the arts funding package announced last year.

"It will raise the standard of souvenirs and it will give tourists a guarantee of authenticity when they buy New Zealand art, jewellery and souvenirs.

"I know of tourists who have bought what they thought was New Zealand pounamu, but instead left the country with British Columbian jade carved in Taiwan."

Australia has a similar mark of authenticity for its aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artworks, says Judith Tizard. "I understand it has been a great success amongst buyers and has resulted in increased income and pride in the traditional arts by aboriginal communities.

"Any intellectual property protection, if done well, will cost money. Winston Peters knows better than anyone what lawyers cost.

"But the benefits will far outweigh the costs, for a long time to come. I called Social Services Manager Steve Maharey's office and we worked out that we only need to get 88 people off the unemployment benefit to pay for this project in one year.

"I thought Winston Peters would be delighted to see talented New Zealanders being paid for real work."

Ends

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