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NZ: French fake moko photoshoot creates online debate

France rugby international Alex Pallison ... self-styled moko stirs debate. Photo: TV3

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Item: 7541

AUCKLAND (Television NZ/Pacific Media Watch): A controversial photoshoot for a French magazine which features a rugby player wearing a fake moko has been met with outrage from some quarters.

One correspondent to branded Alexis Palisson's topless pose on the front cover of Tetu - a bimonthly magazine catering for France's gay and lesbian community - a "mistake".

"Is he representing any particular iwi and if so has he got the moko correct and has he obtained permission from the iwi concerned (if there is one connected to the moko) to have this moko? I am pakeha but even I know that the moko represents your iwi affiliation and must be worn with the greatest humility and respect!" 'Whytewolf' wrote on the TVNZ messageboard.

Moko tell the story of family and tribal affiliations, and are often sacred. Messageboard contributor said they are not something that should be taken lightly.

"Moko is not just a skin scribble it is something that is supposed to be earnt," Whaea M said.

"I know a lot of respected Māori that have waited for the right time to take the journey for ta moko. There is a story in each moko and that story pertains to each individual. How would these non M
ori like their artwork exploited and the meaning changed and used for monetary gain!"

Palisson was also photographed with Māori tattoos across his torso and wielding a traditional taiaha.

Like haka
In the magazine article, he said: "For me, Māori tattoos are like the haka - a tradition that I respect, that also helps to make rugby more popular."

But there are angry comments also on a Facebook page for the French star.

"Intellectual property Alexis why would you think that wearing Moko was a tribute to my people you have no right to wear this in the name of money mate," one person commented.

Broadcaster Willie Jackson told ONE News the photoshoot was an example of New Zealand culture being ripped off.

"Our culture gets bastardised, that's what happens - it's not right, it's not fair, and we're getting portrayed in the wrong manner," he said.

"Frankly we just get sick of the arrogance shown by people overseas. Why don't they go through the correct process."

However, his fellow broadcaster John Tamihere said last night he had no problem with it, and believed it was good publicity for New Zealand ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Feel proud
Others agree and messages to TVNZ describe the response to the photoshoot as an over-reaction.

"NZ Māori/Kiwis should feel proud that these people are wanting to wear Māori designs, embrace it," 'Addertive' said.

"As a Māori in NZ, I have no problem with this. As long as it is not taking the p**s, then why should we care?" wrote Ernest Cunningham.

Palisson says he regrets causing any offence and sees the tattoos as a tradition he respects.

Currently, there is no legislation in New Zealand to prevent overseas "exploitation" of Māori designs and images, Auckland intellectual property consultant Murray Stott told the Herald on Sunday.

A recent Waitangi Tribunal report recommended law changes protecting intellectual property, and Māori culture and heritage.

However, it remains unclear how this would apply to overseas use.

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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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Maori culture???

The bleatings by racist Maori in regards to a Frenchman having drawn a moko on his face and torso for a photo shoot is another instance of the absurdity with which this ridiculous nonsense called Maori culture has now plunged. Maori live here in NZ exclusively as European, so they themselves have bastardized there own stonehenge culture. They emphasize the trivial but slink away from the real face of Maori culture, murder of babies, rape and criminal assaults on the elderly, gang related crime of unimaginable depravity, but find voice to lament a bit of ink painting. Real moko were tattooed on, not painted, so the rants from the likes of racist supremo Willie Jackson are as usual, pathetic. Whatever have Maori given mankind of any value? Absolutely nothing. But have taken everything European as a right and given nothing in return. IWI = I Want It ! That's Maori culture. Brown-skinned European racists will always find something to squeal about whilst refusing to do anything about their own racial shortcomings. The white man's burden for sure !

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