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Tukaki tells Fonterra stick to milking cows not Maori - hands off Kowhai

The Chair of the National Maori Authority has fired a shot off across the bow of New Zealanders largest agricultural company, Fonterra, after its been discovered that they intend on making applications to trademark Maori words and names. Authority Chair, Matthew Tukaki, has told reporters today that Fonterra need to stick to milking cows instead of milking Maori and that includes laying claim to Maori words and phrases:

“I think all Maori would agree with me that a corporate entity sure as hell does not own the use of Maori words or phrases and let me be even clearer – when Air New Zealand attempted to trademark the words Kia Ora I said I would not stop under those applications were withdrawn – well here is the first message to Fonterra – cut it out or ill seen you in up and down dale for a fight for the heart and soul of Te Reo Maori” Tukaki has said

By all accounts it appears Fonterra is attempting to trademark words that would then otherwise restrict smaller Maori business from their use – including the word Kowhai.

Tukaki has said that in no ones world is it okay to take Maori words and meanings and attempt to own them – thereby having Maori possibly beg to use them ourselves without fear of a cease and desist letter.

“It is pure arrogance that this company thinks it has the right to even attempt to do this – who specifically did they consult with, who gave them this advice and who signed off on it? Was it the Board of Fonterra? Was it the CEO? If it was someone needs to get a good talking to.” Tukaki said

Tukaki would be writing to New Zealand intellectual property organisation and the Minster responsible opposing any applications. Tukaki said it is time for those sorts of decisions to be vested purely with Maori saying “Its our language – its not Fonterras”


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