Google Doodle of Whaea Dame Whina Cooper
Google Doodle published (in New Zealand only) on Dec 09 2015 Dame Whina Cooper which was a significant cultural step forward raising awareness of Māori land issues.
A definition of a Google Doodle “Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.”
Stuff ran an article written by Laura Walters stating Google had made a cultural faux pas in its decision not to commission a Maori artist for its Doodle of Dame Whina Cooper. Based on the reporters story, I would say that Stuff have made the cultural faux pas by creating a negative slant to a positive Māori cultural story written by someone who appears to not have Māori cultural background and or experience to produce such a story. The negative story has simply taken away the much deserved and overdue attention to Māori history and created a false fear for non Māori to promote Māori culture and positive issues. Furthermore, the article appears to be a blatant advertising stunt with a link to the artists business web site as opposed to qualifying the artists experience to critique Google.
The Māori artist quoted in the story Johnson Witehira doesn’t seem to quantify his argument as to why a Māori artist should have created the image. The backlash of negative comments on the Stuff page also show that it is Māori and non Māori who feel the article is wrong.
From a cultural perspective this is an image of a person with no moko kauae, no tapu objects and nothing else in the image is obviously tapu. Whaea Dame Whina Cooper was not camera shy like many of her generation were. Her image is in the public domain and viewable with a Google search and most importantly the image is respectful .
Hence, there is no reason for anyone to claim her image should have been created by a Māori artist.
More details of the Doodle are at http://www.google.com/doodles/whina-coopers-120th-birthday
A Twitter feed link of the publicity is here https://twitter.com/search?q=whina%20cooper