Topics: Crime, Rereātea - Midday News, Tā moko/Kirituhi

House of Natives taking Māori moko masks case to court

By Online News - Rereātea, Raniera Harrison, Tepara Koti
  • Auckland

Renowned Māori artist, and founder of House of Natives Aotearoa, Gordon Toi has sought legal advice following allegations that an American company has violated his intellectual property rights.

This morning, Toi told Te Kāea reporter Raniera Harrison that he was very concerned about this violation.

He says that while this type of situation is nothing new to Māoridom, that he will be taking the large US company to court with hopes of a resolution and/or compensation for the loss of income over a period of years.

Toi's legal team have advised not to reveal the company's name at this point, as they are taking them to court.

[Image / House of Natives Aotearoa]

This is not the first time the House of Natives Aotearoa have had issues with intellectual property rights, especially concerning their biker mask designs. 

One issue is that these particular designs on the Māori moko biker masks were created and belong to House of Natives Aotearoa.  The replicas are an exact copy of the same design, and are being sold at a different price.

Toi recently took to Facebook encouraging people to always buy authentic, original artifacts rather than imitation "rip-offs".

One supplier currently on Trade Me is, according to their post, selling the product from Palmerston North.

And on the same day, Toi found another supplier of Māori moko biker masks on Trade Me who, according to their post, is based in the Hibiscus Coast.

The genuine House of Natives Aotearoa Māori moko masks are now being sold via the V8 Choppers website, where Toi says all questions and queries for the bike masks must go through this website.

In 2014, Māori Television aired the series Moko Aotearoa which followed some of the country's top tā moko artists, including the House of Natives.  In episode 7, Gordon Toi introduced his business partner Lane Stensness and their business venture with their Māori moko masks - [at 22.00]