Respect for traditional institutions of the Pacific Islanders
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Paradise Beverages in collaboration with Starwood Resorts produces a line of alcohol called "Ratu Rum"and "Bati" (i-Taukei word for warrior). A new advertising campaign created by a New Zealand creative agency is currently trying to sell the alcohol by creating links between the alcohol and i-Taukei Chiefs and i-Taukei warriors. This is gross disrespect to the i-Taukei institution of chiefs and warriors and reduces these institutions to the level of alcohol. The purpose of this petition is to bring to the attention of all parties concerned that the Fijian/Pacific people do not approve of their institutions, culture, and tradition being used to sell alcohol. The purpose is also to raise awareness of traditional institutions within the Pacific and respect for them. Below is my take on the advertising campaign and names used: "Ratu, to the best of my knowledge, is the title of a chief and is uttered in respect for the person who holds the title. While growing up as a non-iTaukei I was told that the Ratu is the Raja (King) of his land and is to be respected as such. This same respect is now demanded towards a bottle of alcohol. The very same poison that has plagued numerous ills in our society, and families, now carries the importance and respect of the person who is a leader. Being in the marketing/advertising industry for a number of years I must say this is one of the most degrading forms of advertising that I have seen. To use the title that carries cultural and traditional significance and one that is deep rooted and still plays a part not only in the lives of the i-Taukei but the whole population of Fiji, just to sell a bottle of alcohol lacks any form of creativity or thinking. The names behind this are the Starwood Group of Hotels, Paradise Beverages and Creative Method (The advertising Agency). All 3 foreign owned companies that reap the benefit of dragging a high institution of the i-Taukei way of life into the gutter with absolute disregard. Chiefs and warriors (Bati range of rum) of Fiji are now sales people for selling alcoholic drinks produced entirely by foreign owned companies who couldn't care less to accord respect and dignity to Fiji. This is in indeed the same mentality that came with razor blades to buy land and sandalwood. Sadly it still exists. Sadly we allow it to exist."
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