It follows that this action has caused great indignation and offense to indigenous Fijians.
To discuss, it is necessary to have some understanding of Fijian culture and protocols to avoid offense.
This includes, for example, an understanding of the concept of 'tabu'. Tabu can be interpreted as "sacred", or defined as "spiritual restriction" or "implied prohibition", containing a strong imposition of rules and prohibitions - implied , inherent or otherwise.
Like the NZ Maori who consider protocols and actions associated with “rangatira (chief)” and patterns and imagery associated with their traditional “whakairo (carving) , 'tapu" or "tabu", so do we in Fiji associate traditional imagery from all our provinces of Fiji "tabu" or "sacred" in the sense that this belongs to us all and cannot be taken away carte blanche, or in bits to be relegated to someone or something's sole use.
Like Māori and other Pacific Island Cultures, Fijians attribute their spiritual and cultural importance to certain expressions, imagery, totems and locations - all of which have
purpose and meaning.
In the case of the living art form of tapa making, Fijians from every province of Fiji draw from given traditional creativity to visually represent imprints of their life forces, their ancestors mana , their totems & deities, their spiritual lore, and their mana.
Tapa making is a ritual , valued for it's exchange and commodity value, and plays a key role in historically dependent social relations.
The determination, thought, and placement that goes into our masi kesa plays a central role in how we indigenous Fijians clarify, retain , fine-tune and amend tradition in relation to shifting historical, fiscal and social contexts, which in turn shapes our social identity.
Tapa design as representative of our culture is OMNIPRESENT.
The making of masi incorporates the vanua and imprints meaning. The use of geometric designs and repetitive linear lines is prominent in traditional masi making.
Our kesakesa have travelled through generations . Fijian artisans should be able to take what is traditionally handed down to us and freely create what is their right to do so.
To use our cultural symbolism in meaningful and tasteful ways to promote Fiji, our pride and our culture is acceptable to most, so long as you do not attempt to claim it as your own.
It is ridiculous in the extreme to suggest you can trademark a traditional vertical squiggle or a diamond shape just because someone commissioned a design for the tail of a 21st century corporate aluminum bird.
In considering the approach by Air Pacific to shoplift and loot a traditional Fijian concept (which actually mirrors the Fiji regime's current attempts to pilfer and trample upon the whole of the Fijian society and culture) , the World Intellectual Property Organization would be wise to take advice in regards to whether the attempt to register the trademarks in question are prudent - where it is either:
• not offensive to indigenous Fijians
• not likely to be offensive to indigenous Fijians
• likely to be offensive to indigenous Fijians , or
• offensive to indigenous Fijians
Where a sign contains an image, the image classified according to the Vienna Classification. The Vienna Classification system is a numbering system developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization to describe trade mark representations. The system aids in effective searching of trade marks which consist of, or contain, pictorial representations, words presented in a special form, ornamental motifs or other figurative elements.
(Under the New Zealand classification for instance , where a sign contains Māori imagery, appropriate New Zealand specific descriptors have been assigned. Examiners use the classification as a guide to assist in determining whether or not the device under consideration could be a Māori device. If so, advise will be taken in regards to whether the attempt to register a trademark in question is advisable.)
Of course Bainimarama and his clown prince consort don't give a whit about trampling on our rights , so whats another attempt to take away another traditional liberty eh?
OR let's see what we can do about it.
FOOTNOTE : United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesNote Article 31
"Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions."
"In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights."