New Zealand News | Air New Zealand under Fire over ‘Kia Ora’ Trademark

Image Credit: © Bjørn Hovdal |

New Zealand national aircraft carrier, Air New Zealand is facing lots of criticism over her decision to file a trademark application for a logo with the phrase ‘Kia Ora’, a Māori-language greeting.

It will be recalled that the application was originally filed in May this year and received so many negative reactions from Māori cultural representatives.

Following the application, the New Zealand Māori Council has reportedly threatened to campaign for a boycott of the airline if the trademark application is not taking down.

Air New Zealand reportedly said that the trademark application was initiated to protect the logo for its in-flight magazine of the same name. The trademark application covers magazines, including inflight magazines, and magazine distribution in classes 16 and 41.

The Chief Executive of the Māori Council, Matthew Tukaki reportedly said that “Our language is a national treasure for all of us and we need to respect it. It’s not here for business to use it and profit from it as they see fit. So let’s all get sensible about this and Air NZ—cut it out.”

In reaction, the trademarks manager at the IP office of New Zealand (IPONZ), Rebecca James reportedly said that Air New Zealand seeks to protect a particular stylized form of the phrase rather than establish a monopoly on the words themselves.

James reportedly 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.

If a mark is likely to cause offence to a significant section of the community then it may not be registered under New Zealand law, James reportedly added.

There are currently 19 registered trademarks or pending applications containing the phrase ‘kia ora’, according to the IPONZ website.

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About Nathaniel Adebayo 627 Articles
Nathaniel is a News Reporting Intern at Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch (NLIPW). He has a passion for writing, capacity building and social media marketing. He is a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he graduated with BTECHAGRIC. He is a member of Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) and the National Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ). Nathaniel has served as Editor-in-Chief for a number of magazines and as a contributor to various online repositories. Email: