NZ artist and Billabong come to an agreement

By Dean Nathan

Who owns the word "Aotearoaland"?  It's a topic of dispute between artist Lester Hall of Ngāti Pākehā Inks and the famous business Billabong. 

After three months trying to foot it with the corporate giant they have finally reached an understanding.

Relief for artist Lester Hall to finally reach an agreement over his word "Aotearoaland" being sold on T-shirts under the famous Billabong label.

“We have an arrangement that I am willing to accept and there is going to be a really positive statement about that so I'm very happy,” says Hall.

An artist and social commentator, Halls dream is to entice and promote a conversation between Māori and Pākehā through his artwork.

Through his own personal experience handling treasured Māori clothing and artefacts, Halls passion was ignited along with his philosophy for the future of the people of this country. 

He says, “My attitude is the indigenous of my land, whatever the indigenous is, if I am part of a colonising culture must succeed on a per capita basis.  That's what I have to have if I'm going to have integrity.  It's a very simple understanding.”

Neither is it just a brand or a label, but Aotearoaland was created by Lester Hall as a special place for both Māori and Pākehā to share and not for other companies to misuse or take advantage of.

Hall says, “It’s something that I created.  I went in I paid the money and had the foresight.  It’s part of a conversation I've built for twenty years and it’s not ok to wander off with it.”