WELLINGTON: Maori groups threatened to boycott Air New Zealand on Thursday (Sep 12), accusing the airline of cultural theft over its attempt to trademark the masthead of its in-flight magazine Kia Ora.
The magazine's title is an indigenous greeting commonly used by all New Zealanders and the Maori Council said the Kiwi flag carrier had no right to trademark it.
"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."
Reihana said the council, a statutory body set up to advance indigenous interests, would call for a boycott unless Air New Zealand backed down.
"The appropriation of culture has never been right … Maori isn't for sale," he said.
Air New Zealand did not respond to a request for comment but told the New Zealand Herald that the application was only for the magazine's stylised Kia Ora logo, not for the phrase itself.
"It's standard corporate practice to have all our logos trademarked and we have just started the process given Kia Or