Bank apologises to iwi over note design

Iwi ensures right attributions are applied to art works.

Iwi ensures right attributions are applied to art works.

WORKING TOGETHER: At the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in Wellington to formalise their working partnership are (from left) RBNZ board member Tania Simpson, (Reserve Bank board), Te Hau ki Turanga Trust member Robyn Rauna, Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust/Te Hau ki Turanga Trust member Moera Brown, Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust chair George Ria, RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler and deputy governor Geoff Bascand, and RBNZ head of currency, property and security Brian Hayr. Picture supplied

A GISBORNE iwi has succeeded in getting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to respect its intellectual property, and says it is looking forward to a good relationship in future.

In promoting the release of its new $5 and $10 banknotes, RBNZ had pointed to its use of a tukutuku weaving pattern it says was taken from the Te Hau ki Turanga meeting house, located at Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa museum.

But a Rongowhakaata representative said even though the Reserve Bank had used the pattern since 1993, it had no right to continue to pluck designs from the historic whare that had been confiscated from the iwi in the 1860s.

Further distressing iwi members was that the panel from which the pattern was drawn was not even original to what is considered the most significant meeting house still in existence: it was added to the whare during renovations more than 60 years ago.

After two months of discussions between the Bank, the iwi, and Te Hau ki Turanga Trust – which, under Treaty settlement conditions, is responsible for bringing the house back to Gisborne by 2017 – the bank has apologised for the incorrect attribution of the panel.

Te Hau ki Turanga Trust member Robyn Rauna said RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler gave the “very genuine apology, and that’s all it takes”.

“When this house was taken apart we as an iwi had no control over it and that was why we complained . . . because others were defining who we are,” she said.

“The positive outcome is that this has been acknowledged by the Reserve Bank and, once we had the opportunity to discuss things, they realised they had made the wrong assumptions and they are willing to address that.”

The result of the talks is that the bank will work with both Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust and Te Hau ki Turanga Trust to cast light on the true history of the panel represented on the $10 banknote.

Correcting the attribution

They will also work together on ensuring there is correct attribution for the pattern from another tukutuku panel that is also installed in the meeting house, and that will appear on the $20 note to be released next year.

Mr Wheeler said the Bank is now aware the panel represented on this year’s new notes is a generic East Coast design reflecting the Milky Way.

Talking with members of the iwi and whare trusts had drawn attention to the fact that the panel is not “of or from” Te Hau ki Turanga, he said.

“With the support of the the guardians of the meeting house, Te Hau ki Turanga Trust, we hope to discover more of the history of the panel and its weavers.”

Ms Rauna said that when the meeting house is brought back to Gisborne and returned to its former glory, it will be a fully-restored Rongowhakaata whare.

“In the meantime we are taking responsibility for facilitating the conversation around its care, and that includes making sure the correct attributions are sourced and applied.”

The RBNZ apology means the iwi can “move forward in the right way to celebrate Maori culture on the bank notes”, said Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust chair George Ria.

“New Zealand’s banknotes convey our history and heritage and we welcome the opportunity to support and work with the Reserve Bank where we can.”

A GISBORNE iwi has succeeded in getting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to respect its intellectual property, and says it is looking forward to a good relationship in future.

In promoting the release of its new $5 and $10 banknotes, RBNZ had pointed to its use of a tukutuku weaving pattern it says was taken from the Te Hau ki Turanga meeting house, located at Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa museum.

But a Rongowhakaata representative said even though the Reserve Bank had used the pattern since 1993, it had no right to continue to pluck designs from the historic whare that had been confiscated from the iwi in the 1860s.

Further distressing iwi members was that the panel from which the pattern was drawn was not even original to what is considered the most significant meeting house still in existence: it was added to the whare during renovations more than 60 years ago.

After two months of discussions between the Bank, the iwi, and Te Hau ki Turanga Trust – which, under Treaty settlement conditions, is responsible for bringing the house back to Gisborne by 2017 – the bank has apologised for the incorrect attribution of the panel.

Te Hau ki Turanga Trust member Robyn Rauna said RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler gave the “very genuine apology, and that’s all it takes”.

“When this house was taken apart we as an iwi had no control over it and that was why we complained . . . because others were defining who we are,” she said.

“The positive outcome is that this has been acknowledged by the Reserve Bank and, once we had the opportunity to discuss things, they realised they had made the wrong assumptions and they are willing to address that.”

The result of the talks is that the bank will work with both Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust and Te Hau ki Turanga Trust to cast light on the true history of the panel represented on the $10 banknote.

Correcting the attribution

They will also work together on ensuring there is correct attribution for the pattern from another tukutuku panel that is also installed in the meeting house, and that will appear on the $20 note to be released next year.

Mr Wheeler said the Bank is now aware the panel represented on this year’s new notes is a generic East Coast design reflecting the Milky Way.

Talking with members of the iwi and whare trusts had drawn attention to the fact that the panel is not “of or from” Te Hau ki Turanga, he said.

“With the support of the the guardians of the meeting house, Te Hau ki Turanga Trust, we hope to discover more of the history of the panel and its weavers.”

Ms Rauna said that when the meeting house is brought back to Gisborne and returned to its former glory, it will be a fully-restored Rongowhakaata whare.

“In the meantime we are taking responsibility for facilitating the conversation around its care, and that includes making sure the correct attributions are sourced and applied.”

The RBNZ apology means the iwi can “move forward in the right way to celebrate Maori culture on the bank notes”, said Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust chair George Ria.

“New Zealand’s banknotes convey our history and heritage and we welcome the opportunity to support and work with the Reserve Bank where we can.”

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