Ac­tion urged af­ter song uses karakia

Calls to pro­tect Maori in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty

Otago Daily Times - - GENERAL -

WELLINGTON: The use of a Maori karakia in a Korean pop song has ramped up calls for the Gov­ern­ment to pro­tect Maori in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, some say­ing that cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion of Maori­tanga is get­ting out of hand.

The video clip has been viewed about seven mil­lion times since in the past week, but it is an un­easy watch for Karaitiana Taiuru.

‘‘I was lit­tle bit shocked and dis­ap­pointed, be­cause of the words that were used . . . It is a karakia and to me our karakia was be­ing mocked,’’ he said.

Mr Taiuru is a Maori dig­i­tal ex­pert and a mem­ber of the Maori Trade­mark Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee.

‘‘There is a num­ber of cul­tural is­sues there for Maori, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing our karakia is a way of speak­ing with the atua [an­ces­tors].

‘‘It is not to be taken lightly and ap­pro­pri­ated in the man­ner it was.’’

Com­mit­tee mem­ber and re­searcher Aroha Mead said it was great peo­ple wanted to share the Maori cul­ture, but it be­came a prob­lem when it was taken with­out per­mis­sion or un­der­stand­ing.

She said karakia was used to close a discussion, so us­ing it at the start of the song was telling.

‘‘That al­ready gives you a sense that they haven’t re­searched it,’’ she said.

‘‘What we see in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, and in the fashion in­dus­try, is that they just take it.

‘‘The scale of the prob­lem is get­ting com­pletely out of hand and over­whelm­ing, be­cause this is not hap­pen­ing once a year, this is hap­pen­ing al­most on a weekly ba­sis.’’

At the mo­ment, oth­ers can com­mer­cialise Maori works with­out con­sent or ac­knowl­edge­ment, and there is lit­tle or no protection against deroga­tory uses of Maori art.

In 2011, the Wai­tangi Tri­bunal re­leased a re­port on the Wai 262 claim, high­light­ing the prob­lem and call­ing for protection of Maori in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.

But Ms Mead said it was seven years on and the Crown had not re­sponded.

‘‘Clearly, there is a lot of dis­ap­point­ment that the Crown has not re­sponded to the Wai­tangi Tri­bunal re­port.

‘‘This high­lights that we don’t have a right in New Zealand yet when it comes to Maori in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, and this re­ally needs to be made more of a pri­or­ity.’’

Lawyer Maui Solomon rep­re­sented Wai 262 claimants, and was one of 300 at a hui in Nel­son about the prob­lem in Septem­ber.

‘‘To have a sub­stan­tial re­port with sub­stan­tial and sig­nif­i­cant find­ings just to be com­pletely ig­nored, I think peo­ple at the hui thought that was pretty shame­ful,’’ he said.

‘‘This song from this Korean band is just a re­minder that some­thing needs to be done sooner rather than later.’’

He said Maori were miss­ing out on roy­al­ties from over­seas com­pa­nies, and called for a Maori com­mis­sion with powers to po­lice in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.

‘‘If oth­ers from out­side the cul­ture want to use it, then they need to ask prior per­mis­sion to use it.

‘‘And if there is a com­mer­cial as­pect as there is un­doubt­edly in this song, then there should be a con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the pro­mo­tion of the cul­ture and the reo.’’

Maori De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Nanaia Mahuta said the Gov­ern­ment could do more to pro­tect matau­ranga Maori and how it was used to­day.

She said work was un­der way to pro­pose an ap­proach to ad­dress­ing these mat­ters and more in­for­ma­tion would come once Cab­i­net had made a decision. — RNZ

❛ It is a karakia and to me our karakia was be­ing mocked

Karaitiana Taiuru

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