23 Sep 2013

Maori alphabet blocks popular among Pakeha families

6:38 am on 23 September 2013

A digital art designer says his Maori alphabet blocks are being snapped up by middle class Pakeha families.

Maori alphabet blocks created by Johnson Witehira.

Maori alphabet blocks created by Johnson Witehira. Photo: JOHNSON WITEHIRA

Johnson Witehira of Whanganui and Ngapuhi descent, who is studying towards his PhD in fine arts at Massey University, says Maori alphabet blocks he produced last year have been a big hit in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Because he worked with an American manufacturer - Uncle Goose - he says the price is probably out of range for a lot of whanau.

Mr Witehira admits that one of the problems was that they were a bit too expensive. Because they weren't made cheaply in China, they cost about $35 a set wholesale.

However, Mr Witehira said he's blown away by the blocks selling really well among white middle class families in Australia, the US and here in Aotearoa.

He said it's a sign that Pakeha are really taking the educational element of the blocks on board - which he regards as a sign of success of something Maori that has a cultural cross-over effect.