Council apologises after ‘appropriating’ Māori marketing campaign slogan


Whakatāne council has apologised to iwi after “appropriating” a slogan used to struggle water bottling consents within the district.

Photograph: rnz

Māori water rights activists mentioned Whakatāne District Council’s use of the phrase “he tāonga te wai” when encouraging the neighborhood to preserve water was “appropriation” and “insulting”.

Nonetheless, the council mentioned it was simply making an attempt to include extra te reo Māori into its communications and has since apologised and reached out to these offended to have a kōrero about its future use of te reo.

The phrase, which interprets to water is a treasure, has been broadly utilized by Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa when speaking about its struggle in opposition to the grant of consents by the district council and Bay of Loads Regional Council to permit the enlargement of water bottling plant Otakiri Springs.

Chinese language-owned firm Creswell NZ has been granted consents to develop the plant to create billions of plastic bottles on website and to permit thousands and thousands of litres of water to be exported to China.

Otakiri Springs

Photograph: LDR / Charlotte Jones

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has bitterly fought the enlargement in each the Setting and Excessive Courts to guard its proper as kaitiaki (guardian) of the water and te mauri o te wai (lifeforce of the water).

It has misplaced in each courts.

On Monday, Whakatāne council used the identical whakataukī when asking the neighborhood to preserve water whereas it labored to resolve {an electrical} fault on the remedy plant.

Those that have supported the struggle in opposition to the enlargement felt it was irritating to see the identical phrase used to encourage residents to preserve water when a useful resource consent granted by the council will enable it to be exported abroad.

In response, Māori water rights activist and member of He Taonga Te Wai neighborhood group Lanae Cable crafted a letter for others to ship to the council to precise their frustration at using the phrase.

This was picked up by outstanding Māori social-media influencers corresponding to Dunedin-based Jessica Carr, recognized on-line as Māori Mermaid, and unfold on-line by way of their followers.

As of yesterday, the council had obtained 62 responses through its web site relating to using he taonga te wai whakataukī, most of which have been duplicates of Cable’s unique letter.

Council didn’t wish to be insensitive – performing CEO

Appearing chief govt David Bewley mentioned the connection between using the slogan for the council’s water conservation messaging and its use in opposing the enlargement of the water bottling plant at Otakiri was not recognised till the council obtained suggestions on its unique Fb submit.

“The council didn’t intend to be insensitive in the direction of Ngāti Awa in utilizing the phrase, and we sincerely apologise for any offence that occurred by us doing so,” Bewley mentioned.

“It was supposed as a non-literal translation of the “Each Drop Counts” message and picture with reference to the necessity to preserve consuming water in Whakatāne and Ohope at the moment, resulting from {an electrical} fault at our water remedy plant. It was by no means supposed to be linked to some other use of the phrase.

“Lately, council workers have made a concerted effort to incorporate te reo Māori in communications wherever attainable. This occasion was an instance of that kaupapa and was performed with real intentions to mirror a extra bilingual method.

“Given the energy of the suggestions obtained, we have now apologised on to Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa and have reiterated our dedication to proceed to work with them, so these conditions will not be repeated sooner or later.

“We have now additionally contacted a consultant of the ‘He Taonga te Wai’ neighborhood group to provoke a korero about using te reo Maori in council communications,” Bewley mentioned.

Cable was contacted for remark however didn’t reply in time for publication.

It’s the regional council’s useful resource consent that enables for the elevated take of water.

The Whakatāne council’s useful resource consent permits for the bodily enlargement of the buildings at Otakiri Springs.

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Native Democracy Reporting is a public curiosity information service supported by RNZ, the Information Publishers’ Affiliation and NZ on Air.

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