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Māori words and designs

There are a few Māori words and designs that are generally considered not offensive and can be associated with a wide range of goods and services.

The Māori words and designs that do not require assessment are:

  • Māori geographical names (eg Aranui)
  • the word ‘kiwi’
  • the koru design (also known as pitau).

There are a few exceptions, but most trade mark and designs applications that contain these Māori elements don’t need to be assessed by the Māori Trade Marks Advisory Committee.

Exceptions

The Māori Trade Marks Advisory Committee still need to see your intellectual property application if it also includes:

  • other Māori words or images
  • anything that could be considered offensive or ambiguous in relation to the particular goods and services the trade mark represents
  • an atua or  tīpuna (ancestors) name/image
  • an association with wahi tapu – a place sacred to Māori in the traditional, spiritual or religious, ritual, or mythological sense
  • a word that may be regarded by whānau/hāpu/iwi as having mana (high importance).

More information