Maoris accuse Air New Zealand of cultural theft

Air New Zealand is facing calls for a boycott from Maori groups after applying to register the masthead of its'Kia Ora in-flight magazine as a trademark

Māori anger as Air New Zealand seeks to trademark 'Kia Ora' logo

Air New Zealand says that the trademark application is only meant to protect the logo for its in-flight magazine of the same name.

Air New Zealand, the country's national aircraft carrier, is facing criticism over its decision to file a trademark application for a logo with the phrase "Kia Ora", a Māori-language greeting.

Mr Tukaki also said that if Air New Zealand did not stop their "nonsense", he would call for a national Māori boycott of the airline, and that the "vast majority" of Māori people were exhausted of businesses using symbols, names and culture in their branding.

James said that any trademark applications containing Māori words or imagery are referred to a Trademarks Māori Advisory Committee for guidance on whether the mark is likely to cause offence, according to the report.

"My warning to Air New Zealand is I sure as hell will put a stop to this", head of the council Matthew Tukaki said.

Air New Zealand said the trademark application was about protecting the company's logo, and they had "huge respect" for the Māori language. "I think they are overreaching".

MAORI groups today threatened to boycott Air New Zealand, accusing the airline of cultural theft over its attempt to trademark the masthead of its in-flight magazine, Kia Ora. "It's standard corporate practice to have all our logos trademarked and we have just started the process given Kia Ora magazine has recently been through a refresh".

In a statement sent to CNN, Air New Zealand said it wanted to trademark the logo, and not the phrase itself.

"The logo commercialises the words. we have no problem with them using the words but they should not be attempting to link trademarks to them, even if it is only a logo", he said.

Solomon said the language was a national treasure and no one should be claiming exclusive intellectual property rights over it. "As a national airline, they're seizing national icons that's going to help promote their brand. there should be a benefit-sharing".

"The word kia ora has been registered by a number of applicants to be used for a range of goods and services - dating back to 1992 - both in New Zealand and overseas", the spokesperson said.

"And if anyone is should be a Māori national body that does that, not a national airline".

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