Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

Ex-All Black's wardrobe blunder

Byron Kelleher has been selling official Classic All Blacks clothing altered to include branding for his Haka Corner Bar. Photo / Supplied
Byron Kelleher has been selling official Classic All Blacks clothing altered to include branding for his Haka Corner Bar. Photo / Supplied

Former All Black Byron Kelleher, right, has been asked to explain the use of a New Zealand Rugby brand on clothing that also promotes his rugby-themed pub.

Kelleher has been selling official Classic All Blacks clothing altered to include branding for his Haka Corner bar in Toulouse, France, below right.

The Classic All Blacks are a ceremonial team of former New Zealand internationals. Most recently, they played in an October tribute match for Jerry Collins after the former All Black's death in June.

Trademarks for the Classic All Blacks are owned by New Zealand Rugby, who guard commercial rights fiercely.

Kelleher did not respond to attempts to contact him after a Haka Corner Facebook page advertised co-branded Classic All Blacks caps and shirts as "Christmas gift ideas."

The December 20 post has since been removed.

New Zealand Rugby said it was not aware of Kelleher's sales until contacted by the Herald on Sunday and is seeking a "please explain".

"A licence has been issued for the 'Classic All Blacks' brand to be used in France, but we weren't aware of it being used by other organisations such as this on their own merchandise, so we will be making contact with the licensee to clarify how it has been used," Nick Brown, NZR general manager, said.

Haka Corner Facebook page selling All Blacks related merchandise, including using the trademarked words of All Blacks on a hat and jersey. Photo / Supplied
Haka Corner Facebook page selling All Blacks related merchandise, including using the trademarked words of All Blacks on a hat and jersey. Photo / Supplied

"Protecting the All Blacks brand from being unofficially exploited is an important part of ensuring the brand remains strong and that it can continue to deliver value back to the game in New Zealand."

A spokesman for the licensee in France also appeared surprised by the situation, but said they were not allowed to comment.

Former All Black and Classic All Blacks spokesman Andy Haden said he is trying to get to the bottom of the situation but was relaxed about it. "He [Kelleher] is not able to co-brand it. I've asked our licensee if they are aware of it and they will respond in due course," Haden said.

"It's a minor thing and we see it all the time. There's no implications for the French licence, it's just a case of putting a stop to the extra embroidering."

It's the second time in recent months Kelleher's pub has hit the headlines.

In August when Haka Corner launched, he was criticised for linking his bar to Maori culture. Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and predecessor Sir Pita Sharples criticised Kelleher. "This is blatant piggy-backing off Maori culture and is out of order," Flavell said.

- Herald on Sunday

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