Air New Zealand is being threatened with a lawsuit of its attempt to trademark a 'Kia Ora' image.
The airline has applied to the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office to trademark the logo, which it uses on its inflight magazine, Kia Ora. It says the application is "simply about protecting the logo".
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"This is the logo for the magazine title. 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 spokesperson told media.
"The word kia ora has been registered to be used for a range of goods and services - dating back to 1992 - both in New Zealand and overseas."
However Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki calls it a "hair brained scheme [sic]" which is an "insult to all Māori and all New Zealanders" and says he's willing to go to court over the issue.
"Look here is the thing - I am sick and tired of cultural appropriation and in fact all Māori are," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
"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."