Designing Māori logos for non-Māori businesses? That’s a NO from me!

In today's globalised world, it's more important than ever to respect and understand the diverse cultures we encounter. As someone deeply connected to Māori culture, I find it odd and uncomfortable when businesses from other countries and other ethnicities use our cultural designs and values without any understanding. This practice is not just inappropriate; it undermines the authenticity and significance of Māori culture and traditions.

When a non-Māori business adopts Māori imagery, values, or protocols, it often feels tokenistic and disrespectful. While the intention might be to honor and share our culture, the result can be quite the opposite. Māori designs and practices are deeply rooted in our history, spirituality, and identity. Using them superficially in branding or marketing strips them of their meaning and reduces them to mere commodities.

Over the last few years it seems that Māori culture is being treated as a trend, with non-Māori businesses commercialising our language and designs because they are seen as "cool" or "popular." However, our culture is not a fleeting trend for others to profit from or broadcast as they wish. Māori culture holds deep significance and should be treated with the utmost respect.

If non-Māori wish to embrace and celebrate Māori culture, there are many respectful ways to do so. Engage with our stories, learn our songs, and understand our customs. Share your appreciation through these genuine connections rather than through commercial exploitation. This approach not only honors the culture but also fosters a deeper and more meaningful understanding.

Every culture has its own unique values, imagery, and traditions that are worthy of celebration. I encourage non-Māori businesses to explore and incorporate their own cultural heritage into their branding. By doing so, they can create authentic and unique identities that resonate more deeply with their own histories and communities.

Incorporating another culture into your business without a true connection or understanding is not only inappropriate but also diminishes the value of that culture. Let us all strive to respect and honor the rich tapestry of cultures around us by celebrating our own heritage and acknowledging the depth and significance of others. Leave the cultural imagery and values of others alone, and instead, focus on what makes your own culture unique and special.

As Māori, we are responsible to share our culture in an appropriate manner. We are the ones who should give back to it, nurture it, and share it with the world. Let us honor this responsibility by ensuring our culture is respected and appreciated, not commodified and misappropriated. 

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