Petition Update

Our Prala ta Penna (Brothers & Sisters)

The Hon. Jenny Salesa, Minister of Ethnic Communities, NZ has replied to my/our complaints against Mr. Jim Banks and The Original Gypsy Fair (TOGF). Basically, we have been told that with over 250 Ethnic groups at present in New Zealand, the current NZ Labour coalition government is encouraging diversity within all Ethnic groups. But it is early days for these Government efforts and it will take time to include NZ Roma.

The Minister gave two recommendations. She suggested we contact NZ Human Rights Commission. I have been in contact with them over a year ago. The response from the NZ Human Rights Commission although stating sympathy and understanding regarding Romany cultural misappropriation and breaches of copyright, put me/us onto UNESCOs website that outlined a policy about intangible and tangible traditional cultures. It was all very heavy reading. But without help from persons who study this policy, I really feel it’s a dead end.

The second recommendation from the Minister for Ethnic Communities, stated that she would pass on our letter and petition to the minister concerned with copyright issues. We will follow up with a strongly worded letter to Hon. Kris Faafoi, Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs, NZ. I’ll have news to share with you once we get a response.

All in all, we have yet another official (the highest we can go to here in NZ) who is basically saying in a roundabout way sorry we can’t do anything to help Romany (Gypsy) imagery and copyrighted photos being used by Mr. Jim Banks and his Original Gypsy Fair. As we all know, TOGF makes a living travelling with this fair, holding weekend fairs right throughout the country during the summer months.

Here are all the relevant facts and proof of cultural misappropriation by Mr. Jim Banks that we have sent to the NZ government:

  • His business is registered as Gypsy Fairs (he has three Gypsy Fairs registered with NZ business register)
  • He owns intellectual copyright and trademark to these fairs names and all advertising pictures etc.
  • He is using UK Rom photos owned by the Finny Family taken by Barry Law and published as a series about Appleby Fair and a passing way of life.

It seems as though, we as an Ethnic people both Romany and Traditional Travellers Irish and Scottish, in fact only get lip service, worldwide. Here in NZ we need the same equality in human and cultural rights as the many other Ethnic minorities have in Western countries today. We thank our non-Romany supporters for staying the course with us. It’s appreciated.

I’m truly sorry that I could not give you all better news. However, the race is not over yet. We ask any of you who may have expertise in ethnic rights under UN charters to please help us as we continue to fight for our rights.

Tiro Pral Bob

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