Toi Iho is the unique registered Aotearoa New Zealand trademark of Maori quality and authenticity. It signifies Maori made. The Toi Iho Charitable Trust is the legal entity responsible for the support and promotion of high-quality creative work of Toi Iho Maori art and Maori artists.
The Toi Iho trademark was launched at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki in February 2002 under the NZ Government’s arts body: Creative New Zealand (the Arts Council of NZ) and Te Waka Toi (the Māori Arts Board that was dissolved under the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Act 2014).
In 2009, a core group of Toi Iho supporters called Transition Toi Iho Foundation (TTIF) held meetings with Creative NZ and Te Puni Kokiri (the Ministry of Maori Development) to discuss the future of Toi Iho, after the decision to remove funding for it was made by CNZ. Te Waka Toi and the original design group, had consulted widely with iwi in 2000, and we regarded Toi Iho as our cultural property, belonging to Māori. We strongly disagreed with the decision to permanently disestablish Toi Iho and all the registered artists.
In 2010, TTIF participated in a hui at Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University that was convened by Creative NZ calling for registrations of interest to manage and administer Toi Iho. No funding or resources were offered. The assembled artists and Creative NZ agreed that TTIF should take responsibility for Toi Iho.
In October 2010, TIKI – Toi Iho Kaitiaki Incorporated (a limited liability company) replaced TTIF as the legal entity and later, in 2013, the Toi Iho Charitable Trust was instituted in place of TIKI.
The Toi Iho Charitable Trust is now firmly established and is committed to the maintaining a register of Toi Iho artists, supporting their high-quality creative work and advancing the cultural future of Maori as indigenous people.
Some of our Te Waka Toi design team relate the story of the original Toi Iho Mark in a video produced in 2002.