New Zealand Maori offered unique copyright for UN art works

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-2-16 14:57:37

A group of Maori craftspeople have gained a unique agreement from the United Nations to retain copyright of a major art installation at UN Headquarters in New York, Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said Monday.

The group of 43 woven panels -- or tukutuku -- were installed on permanent display next to the entry of the General Assembly Hall last week, Flavell said in a statement.

"These tukutuku are a stunning representation of our culture and our country. More than 1 million people every year will get to see these taonga (treasures)," said Flavell.

"Appropriately, the legal agreement reached between the UN and New Zealand is a significant departure from usual UN policy and is in keeping with the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," he said.

"This landmark agreement allows for the gifting of the panels to the UN, whilst also recognizing the intellectual property rights of the weavers, their families and communities."

Traditionally, once a gift was accepted, the UN normally retained all the intellectual property rights, he said.

Former Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples instigated the project, after signing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on behalf of the New Zealand government in 2010.

In the declaration, the New Zealand government aspired to maintain and protect Maori rights to exercise and control traditional knowledge and cultural expressions and the associated intellectual property.

Woven panels are a revered art form in Maori culture and the UN works tell stories of the people and the land of New Zealand in both customary and contemporary designs.

Thousands of hours went into developing the panels, which were created by 70 artists from around the country.

"In New Zealand, we are used to seeing tukutuku in our whare tupuna (meeting houses). Now these treasures adorn the walls of one of the greatest meeting houses in the world," said Flavell.

Posted in: Art

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