5 Jun 2012

Ngati Toa consider appeal on haka trademark

8:07 pm on 5 June 2012

Descendents of Maori who composed the haka, Ka Mate, are deciding whether or not to appeal against a decision by the Intellectual Property Office not to trademark parts of the traditional war dance, or challenge.

Ngati Toa, of the Lower North Island, had applied to trademark four haka phrases - Ka Mate, Upane Kaupane, Whiti Te Ra and Ka Ora.

The bid was declined because Intellectual Property Office guidelines state it must not register a trade mark that has no distinctive character.

But Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira says it will consider whether it should appeal - it has 20 days to question the ruling.

Ngati Toa says it's seeking a trademark as the only legal means to protect the phrases - which the iwi says is a taonga that was composed by the tribal chief Te Rauparaha nearly two centuries ago.