Story: Intellectual property law

Ownership and control

Ownership and control

Ownership and control are central to intellectual property. Who owned the 'Ka mate' haka and what that ownership meant, was the subject of a court case in 2012. Ngāti Toa, whose ancestor and rangatira Te Rauparaha had composed the haka, had applied for trademarks in relation to four phrases used in the haka (an earlier attempt to trademark the whole text had been abandoned after 10 years). The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand accepted the applications, and the iwi then asked Prokiwi (a New Zealand souvenir maker) to stop producing a tea towel with the words of the haka on it.

When the matter went to court, Prokiwi argued that the 'Ka mate' haka is part of New Zealand's culture and should be freely available for use by manufacturers and sports teams. The argument was accepted and the trademark applications turned down. In the photo shown here, Prokiwi director Rafe Hammett stands next to one of the company's tea towels.

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How to cite this page:

Susy Frankel, 'Intellectual property law - New Zealand intellectual property legislation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 July 2024)

Story by Susy Frankel, published 22 Oct 2014