Stoush brewing over the name of Waiheke's Heke Beer

Heke beer cans.
Heke beer cans. Photo credit: Facebook

A descendant of Hone Heke says he will use all legal means at his disposal to stop a beer being sold on Waiheke Island under the name Heke Beer.

The beer has been given the name due to the fact it is only sold on Waiheke Island, but the shortening means it now shares its name with 19th century Ngāpuhi chief Hone Heke.

The packaging on the beer reads: "'Motu - Wai - Heke, the Island of Cascading Water'".

Northland Kaumātua David Rankin, a descendant of Heke, was contacted by the brewery for permission to trademark the name. However they discovered that the beer had already been put to market.

Mr Rankin denied permission to use the name and is promising to use all legal means possible to stop the beer being sold under its current name.

"What puzzles me is that I was asked for permission to use the name after the product was launched, and that when I declined permission, I heard no confirmation from the company," Mr Rankin said.

"It's not a cultural offence, it's a human offence and the Waiheke Brewing Company is about to find out it will also be a financial defeat for them as well."

Brewery owner Mark Hindmarsh told Newshub he didn't mean to cause any offence with the name and it was not chosen with Hone Heke in mind.

"We decided [on the name] last year, we've had a season already with the beer, [there was] never any intention to offend anyone with it," he said.

Mr Hindmarsh said they're still digesting what it means to not have the support of Ngāpuhi in the name and he has not yet had a chance to discuss it with a lawyer.

At this stage he is unable to say whether or not he will be changing the beer's name.

"I honestly see no reason why we would need to," he said. "I need to speak to a lawyer honestly and see about it."