As the indigenous image is becoming more present in the world of gaming, two Māori who engage in developing digital applications and animation say Māori need to take ownership of their digital presence or else Māori concepts will be utilised by others.
Indigenous concepts playing the "barbaric enemy" or the "simple, nature-loving" people have featured in the gaming realm and Animation Student Te Rangimonoa Tahi-Rangihau says anybody can utilise Māori concepts.
“European/America concepts have been over-used, Japanese and Asian concepts have nearly seen their due by date, it's now time perhaps for Māori concepts to be known to the world,” says Rangihau.
In 2003, Māori culture first appeared in the game, Mark of Kri, and more recently in Brink where 'kirituhi' (a traditional form of body art) was an option during the character creation process.
Rangihau says, “It might be a taboo subject for us, but that isn't the case for others, so in order for us to maintain our digital presence, we need to be in control.”
Senior Lecturer from AUT University Dean Mahuta agrees and says that Māori need to start taking ownership of Māori concepts within the digital realms and in particular the gaming platform so that outsiders do not develop their own Māori concepts for future use.
“The younger generations are experts in gaming, the development of Māori culture within gaming could lie with them,” says Mahuta.
As the Māori image seems to inevitably be used in the digital space, on graduating from the Animation College in Rotorua, Rangihau hopes to be able to deliver Māori gaming concepts made by Māori to the world.