Air New Zealand will not actively pursue its trademark application for the Kia Ora magazine logo after consultation with Māori leaders.

The move sparked outcry from some who thought the airline was trying to claim the words and led to a call for Māori to boycott the airline.

Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon says that after consultation with iwi leaders and intellectual property law experts, it was clear the Government needs to undertake an urgent review of the rules governing the trade marking of words and phrases from the Māori language.

"While Air New Zealand had set out to trademark just the Kia Ora magazine logo rather than the words themselves, we have inadvertently sparked a much-needed discussion between Māori, intellectual property law experts and government,'' said Luxon, who is leaving the airline at the end of the month.


The current trademark situation did not reflect the sometimes differing and legitimate views of both the Māori and legal communities, Luxon said.

Air New Zealand filed its trademark application for the Kia Ora magazine logo after a New Zealand multimedia organisation used the Kia Ora name on a digital magazine.

In a statement from the airline, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive officer Arihia Bennett commended Air New Zealand for seeking the views of Māori leaders on the trademark issue.

"Air New Zealand has shown that the trademark issue needs to be high on the Government's agenda. Ngāi Tahu, along with many other iwi, also face challenges navigating the trademark law,'' she said.

"We support Air New Zealand's call for the Government to take urgent action to find a pathway that meets the needs of Māori and business, and gives effect to the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal Report on the Wai 262 claim 'Ko Aotearoa Tēnēi'."

Pania Tyson-Nathan, chief executive of New Zealand Māori Tourism, also got in behind the airline.

"The fact that it listened to the voices of respected Māori leaders in order to better understand well-expressed concerns over the trademark logo issue speaks volumes to the character of the airline.''

She said that the Government must step up and put in place better laws and processes that recognise the needs of Māori and commercial entities when dealing with the language.

The statement also quoted a principal at law firm A J Park and co-chair of the International Indigenous Rights Initiatives and Policy Analysis sub-committee for the International Trade Mark Association.


Lynell Tuffery Huria said was time for New Zealand society to step up, have courage, lead the world and establish a new and innovative framework that appropriately recognises the nation's cultural heritage and ensures its integrity is preserved.

The cultural heritage of Aotearoa was being eroded through misuse and misappropriation not only in here but around the world.

''For a long time, Māori, and indigenous peoples around the world who face the same issues, have been alone on this journey. Māori cannot do this alone," she said.