Outrage as Air New Zealand applies to trademark ‘Kia Ora’

Outrage as Air New Zealand applies to trademark ‘Kia Ora’

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The New Zealand Maori Council is threatening to take Air New Zealand to court.

Air New Zealand is facing criticism after it applied to trademark the “Kia Ora” logo it uses.

The Maori community, which makes up about 15% of the country’s population, have threatened to boycott the airline, accusing it of cultural theft.

Kia ora is a Maori-language greeting which has entered New Zealand English. It translates as “good luck” or “Best wishes”, and is used as an informal greeting equivalent to “hi”, “thank you” or “hello”.

“The words ‘kia ora’ are Maori and for them to be commercialised is a disgraceful act,” Maori Council spokesman Brent Reihana told TV3.

“They’re two words that are synonymous not just with Maori but with all of New Zealand. I don’t think it’s appropriate to take it into a commercial context.”

Air New Zealand insists it wants to trademark the magazine logo, not the phrase itself.

“It’s standard corporate practice to have all our logos trademarked and we have just started the process, given Kia Ora has recently been through a refresh,” a spokesman told a local newspaper.

“This is simply about protecting the logo.”

The airline has faced criticism in the past for its approach to Maori culture.

Earlier in the year, the airline backed down over its tattoo policy that did not allow staff to have tā moko, often referred to as Maori tattoo.