Māori designers: from traditional to contemporary

Young Māori graphic designers are re-telling history in card games, comic books and gaming apps.

Concept art.

Concept art from Māui Studios. Photo: Image: Māui Studios Aotearoa

The four entrepreneurs behind Māui Studios say the stories of the past should be told in ways that appeal to a new generation.

Director Vincent Egan said in 2017 the stories of the past could be told differently.

“There used to be this perception around Māori being kind of stuck in tradition and we’re all about being under-privileged.

“We’re not trying to tell people how the history is – we’re contributing to what it means to be Māori now in 2017 and moving forward.”

The studios have made comic books in te reo Māori, using Māori gods as characters.

Māui Studios designers, from left, Ben Reriti-Jones, Madison Henry, Luke Egan and Vincent Egan.

Māui Studios designers, from left, Ben Reriti-Jones, Madison Henry, Luke Egan and Vincent Egan. Photo: Māui Studios

They are embarking on a new card game centred on traditional Māori pa sites and battles between Māori gods.

Mr Egan said the cards were a new way to teach all New Zealanders about te ao Māori.

“They help with matauranga – they help with pepeha, geographic locations here in New Zealand, [and] historic figures.

“Ideally we would like to develop decks and content that goes into New Zealand’s history and just re-tells it, whether it be land wars and that sort of thing, in contemporary ways.”

Auckland designer Maru Nihoniho is also incorporating Māori history into video games and helped launched Māori Pa Wars as a game app in May.

The game was officially made live just over a week ago, and has already had more than 3000 downloads.

It involves protecting a pa by using Māori warriors and traditional Māori weaponry to defend it – and you can also play the game in te reo Māori.

Maru Nihoniho helped launched the Māori Pa Wars' game application in May.

Maru Nihoniho of game studio Media Interactive in Auckland Photo: Supplied

Ms Nihoniho said using Māori stories in modern ways such as as in gaming was a natural progression for Māori who had always passed their stories down to the next generation.

“If we go way way way back, they were told to us and then we passed them on. And then, through books and other teaching mediums. We’ve had our stories told through television programmes, through movies and now through gaming.”

A key difference with gaming was that it allowed people to better engage with the story.

“Games are interactive and I guess because you’re involved and you’re making decisions that will get you to the next part of the journey then it’s quite immersive. And it also is a powerful platform to educate without educating.”

Ms Nihoniho has recently received funding for a new game book called Guardian which features Māori characters and will be available to play at the end of the year.

No caption

Maru Nihoniho helped launch the Māori Pa Wars as a game app. Photo: Image: Supplied

Mata’afa Keni Lesa, http://sobserver.ws 


The fight for West Papua might be far from a victory for people there but at last week’s 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting; the vocal local protesters who made the issue known can claim a moral victory.


The mere fact it was acknowledged in the official communiqué is a step in the right direction. Some people might say it is not enough but it must be said that small steps are better than no step at all.


On the other hand, for allowing the protest to proceed – barring an incident where protesters were asked to produce a permit – the government of Samoa can also hold its head up high that it allowed a basic freedom in a democracy to be exercised.


The fact that the protesting group was allowed to express their views without having anyone dragged into Police cells, as we’ve so often seen in these things, is a good sign for Samoa.


The only downside was the Police demanding a permit when from what we’ve been told such a permit is not required.

We are not lawyers but this is perhaps something that needs to be clarified in terms of going forward. Whether the Police made a mistake, someone should own up and acknowledge that.

What we do know is that the second protest went ahead unopposed.


Which was a massive relief.


We say this because wherever protests are involved, there is no guarantee that there will be no confrontation. In countries near and far, we’ve often seen these confrontations turn ugly, extremely ugly.


Yet in Apia last week, while it did create a scene, common sense prevailed in the end for the sake of Samoa and the preservation of democracy on these shores.


The mere fact that the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, made an appearance to acknowledge the views of the protest group speaks volumes about the mutual respect we have in the Pacific. She could’ve just ignored them but she didn’t.


What’s more, the recognition of the issue in the official communiqué is even more encouraging as it means the issue of human rights abuses in West Papua is not being ignored, as some people say.


Reads the Communiqué: “Leaders recognised the constructive engagement by the Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights in West Papua and Papua and to continue a dialogue in an open and constructive manner.”


Well that’s great, isn’t it?


Interestingly enough, this completely throws Indonesia’s official response to the protesters out the window. Last week, an angry Ambassador of Indonesia to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, criticised the protest.

“The Pacific community should stick to the main agenda of the conference which is the Blue Pacific. You know everything is connected to that,” he said.


“In our perspective, talking about West Papua in this conference is not the place because from the beginning there is no agenda as such.”


A colleague of the Ambassador, Mr. Joku became angry and raised his voice to journalists present.

“No! We just stick to the main agenda… but not the Papuans,” he said insisting that the Forum is not the place for the issue.


Perhaps someone should have reminded both Mr. Yahya and Mr. Joku that this is not Indonesia.

This is Samoa where people are allowed to express their views and opinions.


Besides, who gave them the right to dictate what can and cannot be discussed in the Forum?


Folks, this is the Pacific Islands Forum after all held in Apia where Samoan people are free to do whatever they want in their country.


The protest last week was perfectly legitimate because the last time we checked, we are a free people who are allowed to protest and express ourselves freely. So good on the protesters for exercising their freedom.

Let’s hope the momentum is not lost and that at the next Forum meeting, the issue of human rights abuses at West Papua will feature a bit more prominently in the communiqué and that officials like Mr. Joku and Mr. Yahya will learn to leave their dictatorship mindset in their country.


What do you think?


Have a beautiful Tuesday Samoa, God bless!

Komunike PIF ke- 48 di Apia
Foto bersama para pemimpin di PIF ke-48 di Apia, Samoa – PINA
Foto bersama para pemimpin di PIF ke-48 di Apia, Samoa – PINA

Apia, Jubi – Forum Kepulauan Pasifik (PIF) ke-48 telah rampung di Apia, Samoa dari tanggal 5 – 8 September 2017 dan dihadiri oleh Kepala Negara, Pemerintahan, dan Wilayah dari Australia, Kepulauan Cook, Negara Federasi Mikronesia, Polinesia Prancis, Republik Kiribati, Republik dari Kepulauan Marshall, Republik Nauru, Kaledonia Baru, Papua Nugini, Samoa, Kepulauan Solomon, Tonga, Tuvalu dan Vanuatu.


Berikut sebagian isi Komunike PIF ke-48:




4. Para pemimpin kembali menegaskan Framework for Pacific Regionalism (Kerangka Regionalisme Pasifik; FPR) sebagai platform komitmen yang diperbaharui terkait tindakan kolektif untuk mendorong agenda kawasan ini menuju realisasi visi wilayah yang damai, harmonis, aman, inklusif secara sosial, dan makmur sehingga semua orang Pasifik dapat menjalani kehidupan yang bebas, sehat dan produktif.


5. Para pemimpin menegaskan kembali rasa kepemilikan atas agenda regional melalui proses pengembangan kebijakan yang inklusif dan transparan.


6. Para pemimpin mendukung identitas Blue Pacific (Pasifik Biru) sebagai pendorong utama aksi kolektif untuk memajukan visi para Pemimpin di bawah FRP. Dengan mempertimbangkan perubahan konteks global dan regional, Para Pemimpin mengakui bahwa identitas The Blue Pacific dapat memperkuat potensi kepemilikan bersama Samudra Pasifik dan menegaskan kembali hubungan masyarakat Pasifik dengan sumber daya alam, lingkungan, budaya dan mata pencaharian mereka.


7. Para Pemimpin lebih dalam mengilhami The Blue Pacific sebagai sesuatu yang berhubungan dengan semua masyarakat Pasifik yang terdiri dari samudera kepulauan kita, yang menyadari kebutuhan dan potensi mereka, yang merencanakan dan memiliki agenda pembangunan, dan yang dapat bertindak secara kolektif demi kebaikan semua, daripada kebaikan sendiri.


8. Para pemimpin menegaskan kembali dukungan mereka terhadap kebijakan dan deklarasi lautan regional yang ada, serta penguatan Pacific Ocean Commissioner (Kantor Komisi Samudra Pasifik) untuk mengkoordinasi dan mengadvokasi isu-isu sektor kelautan.


9. Para pemimpin berkomitmen mempercepat pengembangan kebijakan untuk melarang penggunaan kantong plastik, kemasan plastik dan sterofoam sekali pakai dan meminta semua mitra Pacific Rim untuk bergabung dan berkomitmen dalam menangani pencemaran laut dan sampah di laut, untuk menjaga integritas lingkungan perairan di Samudra Pasifik untuk manusia, planet dan kemakmuran.


10. Para pemimpin menyerukan upaya regional terpadu yang menyusun dan menetapkan pengakuan internasional akan perlindungan permanen dan integritas zona maritim dan kedaulatan, dari dampak perubahan iklim dan kenaikan permukaan air laut.




Tiga poin (11 – 13) dimana para pemimpin menegaskan bahwa mereka adalah bagian dari arsitektur regional dan pendorong prioritas regional dan alokasi sumber daya, serta mendorong donor dan mitra kawasan Pasifik untuk menyelaraskan sumber daya mereka untuk memenuhi agenda forum.




Dua poin (14 dan 15) dimana para pemimpin mengapresiasi kerja Satgas Sustainable Development Goals dan semua pemangku kepentingan utama dalam mempersiapkan PRSD dan sepakat untuk memperkuat solidaritas Pasifik dengan memastikan upaya kolektif melalui peningkatan kepemilikan dan keuntungan dari Blue Pacific melalui inisiatif yang spesifik termasuk prioritas daerah berikut ini:


a. Perikanan

Dua poin (16 dan 17) dimana para pemimpin mengakui kemajuan yang dicapai oleh Fisheries Task Force (Satuan Tugas Perikanan) dalam melaksanakan program kerja yang disepakati, dan mencatat perlunya koherensi kebijakan tingkat nasional untuk mendukung posisi kebijakan regional. Dan para pemimpin mencatat keprihatinan terhadap negosiasi usaha pengelolaan tuna tropis yang baru di Komisi Perikanan Pasifik Barat dan Tengah untuk mencegah manajemen berbasis zona.


b. Perubahan Iklim dan Ketahanan

Delapan poin (18 hingga 26) termasuk betapa signifikannya kerentanan dari negara-negara Forum terhadap dampak buruk perubahan iklim, para pemimpin menyerukan adanya usaha mendesak dan ambisius dari masyarakat global untuk mengatasi perubahan iklim. Para pemimpin mendukung aplikasi Anggota yang memenuhi syarat ke Dana Iklim Hijau, termasuk di Nauru.


c. PACER Plus

Para pemimpin mengakui penandatanganan PACER Plus pada tanggal 14 Juni 2017 di Nuku’alofa, Tonga, sebagai pencapaian penting dalam sejarah.




a. Kontaminan radioaktif di Republik Kepulauan Marshall

Tiga Poin (28-30) termasuk para pemimpin mendukung tindakan bilateral, regional dan multilateral untuk membantu Republik Kepulauan Marshall dalam upayanya melibatkan Amerika Serikat menuju resolusi yang adil akibat Program Percobaan Nuklir A.S.



Empat poin (31-34) termasuk para pemimpin mengakui pentingnya  memperkuat kerjasama dan berbagi informasi dalam domain maritim. Pemimpin juga menyadari pentingnya menangani masalah keamanan dunia maya.


c. Ketegangan di Pasifik Utara

Dua poin (35-36) termasuk para pemimpin mengecam upaya Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) untuk menguji senjata nuklir dan rudal balistik, dan ancaman yang disebabkan ke Guam,


d. Papua Barat (Papua)

Para pemimpin mengakui keterlibatan konstruktif negara-negara Forum dengan Indonesia sambil mencermati pemilihan umum dan hak asasi manusia di Papua Barat dan Papua serta terus melanjutkan dialog secara terbuka dan konstruktif.


Selain itu poin lainnya mengenai keanggotaan forum dan pertemuan-pertemuan, strategi pembiayaan berkelanjutan untuk sekretariat forum pasifik, penunjukan kembali Skeretaris Jenderal Meg Taylor, inisiatif-inisiatif negara, dan lokasi pertemuan PIF yang berikutnya di Pulau Nauru.(Elisabeth C. Giay)

*Untuk daftar Maklumat dan semua poin yang lebih lengkap dapat dilihat disini.

Indonesia says protesters in Samoa should have had govt approval

Radion NZ )nternationa – Indonesia’s Ambassador to Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, says protesters supporting West Papua independence should have sought a government permit of approval to stage the action.


Indonesia's Ambassador to Samoa, Tonga and NZ, Tantowi Yahya (C).
Indonesia’s Ambassador to Samoa, Tonga and NZ, Tantowi Yahya (C). Photo: Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

At least 30 local people supporting the West Papua independence movement took part in a peaceful protest this week in front of the hotel where the Pacific Island Forum leaders summit is held in Samoa.


A member of Mr Yahya’s delegation also accused one senior journalist of asking provoking questions in support of the West Papua issue.

The Ambassador said the reporter’s questions were based on outdated information.


West Papua was one of the issues raised by the civil society delegation in this week’s Forum leaders meeting.


But Ambassador Yahya said the issue of Papua was not on the agenda at this Forum meeting.


“First it will not bring any relevant issues which connects to the agenda and the second, it’s kind of, in our perspective talking about Papua in this conference is not in place because from the begining there is no agenda as such that will be concerning the issue of Papua,” he said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian foreign affairs official Franzalbert Joku accused the Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand of failing to help West Papuans when they needed help.


Mr Joku, who is in Samoa because Indonesia is a Forum dialogue partner, said the Forum meeting is not the place to raise the West Papua issue.

He said Pacific Island countries were now questioning West Papua’s integration into Indonesia in 1969 when the process had been relegated to the history pages.


Mr Joku went on to say West Papuans had never seen Samoans and Fijians, adding they should not pretend that they wanted to help.


Pacific Islands countries most critical of Indonesia’s West Papua policy, such as Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, didn’t become independent before 1978.


The Indonesian delegation is among other Pacific Island Forum dialogue partners, such as the United States, China, and Japan.

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu , 07 September 2017


A senior staff member of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Franz Albert Joku, has rubbished the peaceful protest highlighting the plight of West Papua at the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, this week.


Mr Joku was accompanied by the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, during a press conference where they responded to the protest.


Ambassador Yahya said the protest concerned them greatly.


“The Pacific community should stick to the main agenda of the conference, which is the Blue Pacific. You know everything is connected to that,” he said.


Mr Yahya said their concern is that the protest could have overshadowed the main agendas of the conference.

“In our perspective, talking about West Papua in this conference is not the place because from the beginning there is no agenda as such.”


In the progress of the press conference, the Ambassador and Mr Joku’s voices were raised, causing Police Officers in the vicinity to approach the area


where the meeting was held.


“No! We just stick to the main agenda… but not the Papuans,” Mr.Yahya said.


Mr Joku intervened noting the West Papua issue is not new to the Pacific.


“It’s regrettable that Pacific Islanders all of the sudden want to address the Papua issue, now,” he said. “The Papua issue has been at the forefront since the late 50s and early 60s.


“We have seen our worst; where the hell were the Pacific Island nations when we really needed that kind of expression and that kind of concern coming from them?


“Now they are questioning the Independence and Colonisation referendum for Papua that have been relegated to the history pages. A lot of constitutional changes have taken place since.


“And we’re not on the same part as you have had previously… so we are not on that path. We’re about constitutional empowerment and we’re about emancipation, we want to develop our land, we will not be dictated by any forum or any other country because we needed you, and where were you?”


Mr Joku insisted the forum is not the place for the issue.


“Papua is very close to our heart and we will not be dictated by anyone. We Papuans, in Papua, will decide what we want to do.


“We’re under going constitutional mechanism and constitutional changes, we want to empower ourselves constitutionally, politically, economically and socially. When we needed the Pacific, when we needed Australia and when we needed New Zealand, you have not come to our aid.


“So we have worked our own arrangement within and that is what we are pursuing.”


Mr Joku added, “We’ve never seen Samoans and Fijians. And don’t pretend you want to help us. We know what we want. Have a balanced article and invite them to visit West Papua.


“You feed yourself with what you read on the internet, we invite you to come to Indonesia.


“We are not saying Papua is perfect, but let us attend to our own problems, do not provoke us, I have spent 14 years in PNG as a refugee with my family, we know exactly the subject that we raised, and up until today, we have gone without any help from you guys.”

Second West Papua protest to go ahead at Forum summit

Demonstrators are staging another protest this afternoon outside the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Apia, in support of West Papuan independence.

Police at the Pacific Leaders Forum Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia
Police at the Pacific Leaders Forum Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Police disbanded about thirty protestors demonstrating outside the meeting venue in Samoa’s capital this morning.

The protest organiser Jerome Mika said he had to contact the police commissioner about demonstrating again.

“Just letting him know that we are going to have a protest this afternoon.

“If there are any concerns of the legality of it then we would ask him to confirm in writing where it says in the crimes act that we cannot protest.”

Around 30 protestors supporting West Papuans’ self-determination were moved on by police this morning as they tried to demonstrate outside the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel.

Mr Mika, who’s a spokesman fro Samoa’s First Union, said it was not clear why the meeting was disbanded and they had asked the police for clarification.

He said he had asked police to confirm in writing any legal grounds that may prevent a planned protest this afternoon.

West Papua independence movement protest campaign in Samoa. Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia
West Papua independence movement protest campaign in Samoa. Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

West Papua independence movement protest campaign in Samoa. Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia


Mr Mika said Samoans have had the right to freedom of expression since independence and he said the demonstrators were encouraging Pacific island leaders to support such freedom for West Papua.


“We had our independence in ’62, and you know West Papua’s been colonised since ’63 so that freedom of expression is something that we have been able to achieve through our independence.”


Our correspondent in Apia reported the police told the protestors they would have to apply for a permit to protest.