Air New Zealands Trademark Conflict with the Maori Community

Posted by Anna on September 18, 2019 / Posted in News
Air New Zealands trademark conflict with the Maori community over the phrase Kia Ora

A recent dispute has come to light between Air New Zealand and the Maori Community. This is over Air New Zealand’s attempt to trademark the imagine of the words “Kia Ora”. The word “Kia Ora” is the title of the airlines in flight magazine however this has caused a great amount of conflict between the Maori community.

Kia Ora in Maori is a phrase used amongst the indigenous community; as a greeting.

However, the airline argue that it is not the words themselves they are hoping to trademark, be but rather the image on the magazine, which includes this word.

There have even been threats of boycotting the air line as some people believe that this attempt to trademark is a form of cultural misappropriation.

The threat of a boycott for this airline is worrying. The Maori community is reported to spend millions of dollars in air travel with this company every year. If a boycott takes place this could result in the airline being extremely affected.

The airline is no stranger to the implications that have been brought up in the past involving the Maori community. The Maori community are known for their body works such as tattoos. Criticism arose due to a previous ban for staff of the airline not being allowed to have visible tattoos.

There is a number of IP specialists that believe the attempt to trademark Kia Ora is acceptable as it is simply the logo that is being trademarked not the word itself.

It could be said that this trademark should not be allowed. Even thought they want to trademark the image of the words; this is still a form of trademarking, of the word Kia Ora.  Therefore, should be rejected my intellectual property specialists on absolute grounds. There is also strong cultural misappropriation that needs to be considered for the registrability mark.


Anna Orchard
This entry was posted on September 18, 2019 and is filed under News. You can follow our blog through the RSS 2.0 feed.