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New Zealand's Maori Tribes Challenge Lego

on 2001/6/8 9:43:02 ( 1594 reads )

Source: CNN

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND, JUNE 1, 2001: Protesting the use of Maori words and Polynesian culture in a new computer game, three New Zealand Maori tribes are considering taking legal action against Danish toy company Lego. New Zealand barrister, Solomon Maui, has asked Lego to suspend sales of the game, saying it infringed the Polynesian people's intellectual property rights to their language and culture. The game, Bionicle, features characters with common Polynesian names fighting for the liberation of a tropical island called Mata Nui. According to Maui, the game's story line bears a strong resemblance to traditional stories told by Polynesian people of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. A Lego spokesman denied interfering with the cultural heritage of Polynesian people and said the company would not be withdrawing the game. The use of Maori cultural symbols is increasingly being challenged internationally and in New Zealand. In 1993, the Maori tribes issued the Mataatua Declaration, designed to protect the intellectual and cultural property rights of indigenous peoples.

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