Māori Council chairman Matthew Tukaki backs Air New Zealand ditching trademark pursuit

The head of New Zealand Māori Council has praised Air New Zealand's decision not to pursue trademarking the Kia Ora magazine logo.

The airline company had applied to the Intellectual Property Office for the trademark but said the move was only to protect the logo of its inflight magazine, Kia Ora.

But the decision received backlash, with Māori Council chairman Matthew Tukaki threatening to go to court to stop it. 

Tukaki last week called it a "hair brained scheme [sic]" which is an "insult to all Māori and all New Zealanders".

"Look here is the thing - I am sick and tired of cultural appropriation and, in fact, all Māori are."

But he praised the decision on Wednesday to stop pursuing the trademark.

"It really said something that the vast majority of Māori from across the country, who were messaging me and phoning me, said what they did was a bad thing, especially during Māori Language Week," he told Newshub.

"It didn't reflect well on the brand of Air New Zealand and it certainly wouldn't have gone well for their pocket, especially seeing CNN and BBC and all the worldwide outlets begin to pick it up."

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the decision came after consultation with iwi leaders and intellectual property law experts. 

He said that also sparked a "much-needed discussion between Māori, intellectual property law experts and Government" about the rules around trademarking words from the Māori language.

"The current trademark situation does not reflect the sometimes differing and legitimate views of both the Māori and legal communities."

Tukaki says there are "dozens" of examples of the language being trademarked.

"Through this process, we have learnt of literally dozens of trademarks around Māori words and language that have been put through just quietly for probably a good 10 to 20 years now," he told Newshub.

In a statement, Tukaki agreed the Government should give more definition to the rules around the language and trademarks, "even if this means a complete review of current trademarks and the application process".