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Maori name to Promote Smoking Outrages Sharples

Misappropriation of Maori name to Promote Smoking Outrages Sharples

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party, spoke out about the mis-use of the Maori name in a brand of cigarettes produced by tobacco company Philip Morris.

“I am disgusted that our authenticity, our identity, our name has been associated with a killer disease” stated Dr Sharples.

The Maori name has been used in a brand called the I and M Maori mix brand, recently discovered in Jerusalem, Israel.

“My reaction was an immediate affront that our name would be mixed up with an addiction which has reached what you could say are epidemic proportions amongst our people” stated Dr Sharples.

“I am acutely aware that 31% of all Maori deaths are attributable to tobacco use - and this branding exercise using our name to promote smoking is a blatant abuse of our unique identity”.

“We have a process for commercial development of products based on Maori imagery and culture through the TOI IHO (Maori Trademark)” stated Dr Sharples.

“Companies who follow ethical practices would go through the appropriate processes in place to ensure indigenous symbols are not misappropriated”.

“This latest example of misappropriation is tasteless” concluded Dr Sharples. “There are some images that should simply not be associated with our culture - and cigarettes and alcohol are at the top of that list.

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