All Blacks can keep using haka
March 17, 2011
The All Blacks perform the haka ahead of their clash with Scotland at Murrayfield last November © Getty Images
The world-famous haka is set to remain a key part of the All Blacks' arsenal after months of secret talks over the trademarked traditional dance ended in agreement.
The Dominion Post reports that the New Zealand Rugby Union and lower North Island iwi Ngati Toa have signed a memorandum of understanding acknowledging the All Blacks' right to perform the haka Ka Mate. The NZRU told the newspaper that no money had changed hands and it is not known if Ngati Toa would be in for a cut of revenue from advertising using Ka Mate.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the agreement confirmed Ngati Toa's support for the performance of Ka Mate by the All Blacks. "It gives the NZRU some certainty regarding its ongoing use of Ka Mate, while at the same time providing some assurances to Ngati Toa that use of the haka will be respectful," said Tew. "It's pleasing to reach this milestone with Ngati Toa and to formalise our relationship."
Ngati Toa filed an application to trademark four key phrases of the haka last year, after an earlier bid to gain control of the rights to the entire text of Ka Mate failed. The rugby union had been filing documents of possible opposition to the Intellectual Property Office ever since, to give it time to settle the deal with Ngati Toa.
Ngati Toa kaumatua and spokesman Taku Parai said the deal formalised an informal agreement which had existed for some time. "We've always accepted the All Blacks performing Ka Mate, so this is just putting a formal acknowledgment in place. It really has always been about ensuring a certain level of protection of the haka from misappropriation, from the misuse of it ... the All Blacks do it in a respectful manner."
Ka Mate is said to have been performed first by Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha, after a Tuwharetoa woman saved his life by shielding him from enemies. In 2009, the Crown acknowledged Te Rauparaha as the author of Ka Mate, and its significance to Ngati Toa.
The All Blacks have been using it since 1905, and it was revived in the 1980s and used extensively in NZRU advertising since.
The controversial Kapo O Pango version of the haka, based on that used by the 1924 All Blacks, was first used 2005.
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