The world-famous Maori traditional dance Haka has been formalized by Maori tribes in order to avoid copyright infringement. In particular, New Zealand’s Government has stated that Maori will legally own the rights to the most famous type of Haka – the «Ka Mate».
It was officially recognized that Ka Mate was composed by Maori leader Te Rauparaha in order to celebrate the rescue of a soldier from death in battle, which took place in 1820.
Obtaining the copyrights by Maori in many ways is merely symbolic, but it is very important for Maori leaders. Members of the tribe will not be able to claim any cash for violations of their copyrights, but from now on improper use of Haka for commercial purposes is prohibited.
The main purpose of this copyright is to prevent theft and «wrong» performance of Haka, as it happened, for example, in 2006.
Back then Fiat automotive company had issued a series of commercials in which Haka was performed by Italian wemen. While, according to Maori, this type of Haka dance is performed only by men.
Another scandal about the use of Haka took place in 2007. During the ceremony in which awards for the best bakery were given, Haka was performed by men, dressed in gingerbread comic outfits.