Over the weekend I got a chance to do a short presentation to Native Hawaiian artisans and craftsperson about the Internet. This was in conjuction with Hale Ku`ai and the Native Hawaiian Producers workshop. My talk was about Internet infrastructor and web sites. It's amazing what we take for granted here in Hawaii. The native Hawaiian producers are putting out some quality stuff and we need to make sure it gets recognized as such. There are apparently a lot of rip offs coming in from who knows where. The tourists end up buying the stuff thinking its made in Hawaii by native craftpeople.
There were a number of other presentations from pricing product to marketing product in stores. One topic which got a lot of attention was on a native Hawaiian trademark. Maile Andrade, a professor from UH Art School gave examples of how the Maori in Aotearoa developed a trademark to designate quality native made products. This Scoop article describes the trademark and purpose.
I think this is a great idea and will give an authenticity and recognition to the products made by native Hawaiians. It is reminiscent of the Indian Market in Santa Fe or the Hospital Auxiliary Craft Shop in the Alaska Native Medical Center. The process to develop a native Hawaiian trademark is at its early stages. It is not certain how much it will cost or who will be the judge or enforcer of the trademark.
As a preparation for criticism, here is an article commenting on the excessive use of taxpayer dollar on the Maori trademark. I think it's bunk but everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am sure we will have our share in Hawaii.