Retailers are vitally important in identifying Maori artists work with the Toi Iho trademark. The original motive for developing the Mark was to distinguish Maori products from others, particularly when traditional designs and patterns are being copied by non-Maori artists. Retailers are encouraged to step forward and identify Maori artists who are on the Toi Iho list (see toiiho.co.nz) and label their retail products. If your Maori artists create high-quality works, encourage them to apply for Toi Iho assessment so that they can join Toi Iho ranks. Having Toi Iho is an advantage for the buyer, the seller and the artist. Toi Iho shows the very best of Maori art.
I have just finished a frustrating search for Maori made art work and there is no obvious way of telling the work of our indigenous artists. In discussion with retailers, some guessed that ‘they could be Maori’ but generally said there was no way of knowing. Six weeks later, I have found beautiful taonga in Hastings, online. We are keen to enlist the artist and have her name linked to Toi Iho. Come on Retailers, join up.