The booming NFT market has fueled concerns about the cultural theft of Taongamaori.
Non-fungible tokens or digital assets have become a global phenomenon, with the potential to acquire millions internationally and be offered in the form of digital art, photography and music.
“I have already seen a lot of images of ancestors from publications that are being used and manipulated,” said Karaitiana Taiuru, an intellectual property and cultural adviser.
“I have a face on someone else’s body [and] Moko from the face that has been added to the faces of others. They are inappropriate images and are deteriorating Maori culture. “
Some NFTs currently on the market advertise the harmful stereotypes of early Maori as violent warriors and those who frequently killed children.
“People who don’t know the difference may think this is Maori culture. It’s normal, and they may recreate that image without knowing it’s offensive,” Taiul said. Told.
Maori photographer Rawhitiroa Bosch recently converted some of his work to NFTs and was shocked by what he saw at the NFT Marketplace OpenSea.
“Literally, people get a Google image of Poufakairo or just or Tewatewa, put it on OpenSea and sell it as an NFT. Those who don’t know it will go.” Oh, this is Maori, OK , I “I’ll buy it.” “
He and other Maori and Pacifica NFT creators will hold regular online wanangas to protect Taongamaori from further exploitation and create a safe space for the presence and prosperity of Theaomaori within the blockchain. Discussing how.
One of the ideas they have is to create an authenticity stamp to show buyers that their work is actually Maori and reliable.
“The idea is to be able to show in some way. He’s a Maori business. This is a Maori business. Not because he wants to control everything, but because he wants to help all Maori artists. I want to help the people know what is true and what isn’t. “
Titan Tiki and Luke Ryan, founders of the Maori NFT project, endorsed this idea.
“There is a complete market for those who really love Te Ao Maori, they are really connected to the indigenous cultures of the world and they are just looking for the real thing,” he said.
He said it’s important for people to do their own background checks against NFT creators before making a purchase.
“Looking at the Titan Tiki website reveals who the founder is and who the team is,” he said.
“If [they’re] Using tāmoko … [ask] Whose family does it belong to? Have you ever talked to the family? “
NFT spaces are not fully regulated and are often vulnerable to fraud.
However, more and more artists, including Maori, are also aware of their benefits, such as their ability to generate income from loyalty and the ability to avoid paying art galleries and record labels to significantly reduce their income.
“It’s a big thing for me that Mana is with the person who created it,” Rawhitiroa Bosch said.
“From a Maori point of view, NFTs are sold through a variety of people, so you can see their images, their works of art, Wakapapa through the blockchain.”
Luke Ryan said it was an opportunity for Maori to share their culture with the world.
“The first word that comes to my mind is heritage. It’s an opportunity to promote the heritage of Te Ao Maori,” he said.
“I think it’s a really great opportunity to share our culture and educate people about our traditions.”