Endorphina’s latest game has been plagued with protests from Hapai Te Hauora, the Maori Public Health Agency, over the use of intellectual property in its latest pokie. The agency claims that the developer’s recently launched game uses symbols and themes associated with the Maori culture, thereby breaching the property rights of its people.
Use of Maori Symbols and Culture Cause Furore
The agency’s feelings were conveyed to the developer by a local New Zealand law firm, and Endophina was quick to withdraw the pokies game from their online and mobile gaming platforms. Erlene Rodriguez, the company’s director, has also apologised profusely for any offense that the game may have caused.
Rodriguez has assured all parties involved that Endorphina had absolutely no intention of insulting the indigenous Maori peoples of New Zealand when its design team pieced together the new Maori-based theme. The game features icons of Maori women and warriors, as well as the legendary Haka dance that was traditionally performed at the beginning of local tribal battles.
Ngai Tahu Retains Intellectual Rights To Haka, Maori Images
The Chief Executive of Hapai, Lance Norman, has further explained his organisation’s objection against the new game. Norman said that he felt that the gaming product has insulted Maori people, and that his objection stands on the grounds that the developer’s team had used Pounamu symbols in the pokies – symbols that have always been the sole intellectual property of Ngai Tahu.
The executive further elaborated on his reasoning. The developers have used Maori warriors, he said, and if a player wins in the game, an animated graphic of the Maori Haka will appear on the screen. According to Norman, this traditional dance is the intellectual property of Ngati Toa.
He went on to say that Maori intellectual property has been used in many familiar instances as a form of comfort and familiarity-inducing advertising. Norman has made it clear that this usage of traditional symbology has been used as a way to lure vulnerable people into the online gambling space; something that he and the tribe he represents strongly object to.