New Zealanders should not fear that including the Ka Mate haka in a treaty settlement will restrict their ability or that of the All Blacks to perform it, Prime Minister John Key said today.
A special provision was made in the Treaty of Waitangi settlement with Ngati Toa for the Ka Mate haka - which was written by their famous chief Te Rauparaha.
Ngati Toa Rangatira, along with Kurahaupo Ki Te Waipounamu Trust and Tainui Taranaki ki te Tonga, today signed a letter of agreement for the $300 million agreement at Parliament today.
Ngati Toa has said it wants to protect the haka from "inappropriate use".
Mr Key said New Zealanders should have complete confidence the final settlement would reflect the haka's place in society.
"There will neither be any restrictions on them in terms of their use or rendition of Ka Mate, nor any charge for doing so," Mr Key said.
The settlement would reflect the authorship of the haka, he said.
"It would be unacceptable for the Crown if there was a charge on New Zealanders or a restriction on New Zealanders for them to have a rendition of Ka Mate."
Mr Key said the issue was about cultural redress and not a financial issue.
If a company wanted to use the haka for commercial reasons there should be recognition of the cultural aspects to the iwi.
How this was handled in the final treaty settlement was still a matter of discussion, Mr Key said.
Mr Key did not believe the All Blacks would be considered as commercially exploiting the haka.
"They are our national sports team and they have had the rendition of Ka Mate for a long time. I just don't count that in issues of commercial."
The settlement letter said it would "record the authorship and significance of the haka" to Ngati Toa. This allows Ngati Toa to "address their concerns with the haka".
The Crown did not expect Ngati Toa to receive royalties or a veto on the performance of the haka.