Haka seals Ka Mate deal

09:33, Feb 11 2009

Ngati toa celebrated their historic Treaty deal with a rousing rendition of Ka Mate as the Government insisted the ground-breaking agreement would not stop Kiwis from performing the haka.

But the iwi and the Crown are still months from working out how the settlement will meet the twin aims of preventing Ngati Toa vetoing Ka Mate performances or charging royalties and protecting it from commercial and cultural abuse.

Ngati Toa chief negotiator Matiu Rei said final details of the haka provisions had yet to be negotiated, but the iwi was particularly concerned about misuse, such as a rendition by female models in a 2006 Italian advertisement for Fiat.

"We're looking to protect the haka from inappropriate use. I suppose 10 or 12 Italian models doing the haka to advertise an Italian car and not a Ferrari, but a little pinto."

Prime Minister John Key agreed use of the haka commercially had to be addressed, but insisted it would be unacceptable for the final deal to provide a right of veto or royalties on ordinary Kiwis performing Ka Mate.

"This is about cultural redress, it's not about a financial issue or an attempt to restrict New Zealanders if they're having a game of backyard cricket and decide they want to do Ka Mate.


"If Fiat decide they want to make a commercial on TV in New Zealand using Ka Mate with some models, then that's probably a legitimate negotiation. It's no different from music rights you have to go and negotiate that as well."

Mr Key and Mr Rei agreed it was extremely difficult to prevent commercial use of the haka overseas, though Mr Rei said there was a growing international movement to protect indigenous intellectual property rights.

Aroha Mead, a Maori intellectual property rights expert at Victoria University, said Ka Mate would be ineligible for copyright because it was a historical composition. "The best option was the one Ngati Toa have actually achieved [in the proposed settlement] ... high-level acknowledgement that they were authors."

In 2006, the Intellectual Property Office refused an application from a Ngati Toa trust seeking to trademark the haka.


The Dominion Post