Air New Zealand’s move to trademark Māori language greeting “kia ora” (translate “be well”, widely used across the country to mean “hello”) has sparked anger and threats of a boycott from the Māori community.
National carrier of New Zealand applied in May to trademark the words “kia ora” as image, which is also the name of its in-flight magazine.
The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, said, the airline was seeking to protect only the “particular stylised forms” of the greeting, rather than the greeting itself., but Indigenous groups says the greetings belonged to them, and its purely a cynical business move.
“the words #kiaora are not theirs & i wont stop until the application is withdrawn” Matthew Tukaki of Maori Council
“Let’s be really clear here. This is an insult pure and simple,” … “I am sick and tired of cultural appropriation and in fact all Māori are – 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.” Tukaki said in a statement.
Air New Zealand has been adopting reo Moori language and culture as part of rebranding and added moori language option to its bag drops, check-in kiosks and rolled out on its inflight entertainment system (IFE).
The Māori language is introduced on Airline’s A321 and A320 neo aircraft and should be available on its Boeing 777 and 787 fleets from the end of the year.
“As New Zealand’s national airline we recognize Maori culture is an important part of our country’s identity and are focussed on further weaving it into our organization and our customer experience.” said Air New Zealand cultural development manager Henare Johnson.