Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beer Brand Causes Right Royal Ruckus

boutique brewery's beer has brassed off a few bros!
Funkwerks of Colorado called its new brew 'Maori King' because it uses NZ rakau hops. Company co-founder Brad Lincoln only found out there was an actual maori king when a NZer told him.
[The Maori King Movement or Kingitanga arose among some maori tribes in the 1850s, attempting to establish a symbolic role similar in status to that of the monarch of the colonising British. Today, the maori monarch is a non-constitutional role with no legal power. Tuheitia Paki, maori king since 2006, has been surrounded by growing controversy about rumours of abuse of position.]
Tainui executive chair Tuku Morgan (who recently faced misconduct allegations) is deeply offended and will be contacting Funkwerks to "establish a dialogue". Hori Awa, a Kingitanga follower who heads a Tainui social service provider, says he's disgusted with the product. Maori health advocate Shane Bradbrook believes the beer should not be sold: "It's exploitation and in terms of our Maori king, it's misappropriating his mana." He claims putting moko on a beer bottle is "culturally inappropriate", and wants it withdrawn. But because labelling has to be approved by regulators, Funkwerks says there'll be no immediate changes …
...and rightly so too. The stylised facial tattoo does not depict the incumbent so-called "king of maoridom": it's merely a link to the contents. Duuuhhh, it's called "branding".
Does the Kingitanga Movement seriously believe every instance of a pseudo maori tattoo must be sanctioned by them, perhaps earn them a fee? Just like Tariana Turia's tirade in June over a milk powder with the pic of a maori maiden, certain knee-jerk reactors need to calm down and realise that imagery like this is in the public domain. No-one has control over it! If it was a specific image of their king, that would be completely different – but it's not.
A quick Google search revealed quite a few items with maori faces. I'd bet safe money that Kingitanga wasn't able to extract kickback from all of these..!

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