Whakawhiti te ra, Hi!!!

The Maori tribe Ngati Toa has tried to register 4 key phrases from the Ka Mate in New Zealand. Unfortunately for this tribe, the trademarks office of New Zealand issued now a notification that it has refused this trademark.

The Ka Mate is a ceremonial dance of the Maori, best known for the rugby players who start a game with this impressive ceremony.

Although the trademark office ruled that this dance and the phrases are originating from this tribe, it dind not want to grant a monopoly on the use of these phrases. A result would be that this tribe were the only one allowed to use these phrases, according to the examiner.

Although MarkMatters.com did not see the argumentation, we can understand that such phrases will not be perceived as a trademark. It would be the same in the event phrases of a national anthem would be registered as a trademark: no one sees or recognizes this as an indication of origin.

As it seems that the conference ECTA (which Markmatters.com will attend) begins with a Zumba workshop, there might be others that want to practise the Ka Mate ceremony. The movements are shown above, the phrases are:

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tenei te tangata puhuru huru
Nana nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te ra
A upa … ne! ka upa … ne!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra!
Hi!!!

Source: Brisbane Times

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