Indigenous Flora and Fauna and Cultural Intellectual Property: Report Summary
Waitangi Tribunal media statement, 2 July 2011

AHIPARA, NEW ZEALAND: On 2 July 2011, the Waitangi Tribunal released its report on the Wai 262 claim relating to New Zealand’s law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity. The report concerns one of the most complex and far-reaching claims ever to come before the Waitangi Tribunal. The Wai 262 claim is commonly known as the indigenous flora and fauna and cultural and intellectual property claim. As the report’s preface puts it, “the Wai 262 claim is really a claim about mātauranga Māori – that is, the unique Māori way of viewing the world, encompassing both traditional knowledge and culture. The claimants, in other words, are seeking to preserve their culture and identity, and the relationships that culture and identity derive from.” The report is divided into two levels: a shorter summary layer subtitled Te Taumata Tuatahi, which aims to be accessible to a general readership, and a fuller, two-volume layer subtitled Te Taumata Tuarua.

The first volume of Te Taumata Tuarua introduces the report and contains its first four chapters. Chapter 1 considers the Māori interest in the works created by weavers, carvers, writers, musicians, artists, and others in the context ofNew Zealand’s intellectual property law, particularly copyright and trade marks. Chapter 2 examines the genetic and biological resources of the flora and fauna with which Māori have developed intimate and long-standing relationships, and which are now of intense interest to scientists and researchers involved in bioprospecting, genetic modification, and intellectual property law, particularly patents and plant variety rights. The next two chapters consider Māori interests in the environment more broadly, first in terms of the wide-ranging aspects of the environment controlled by the Resource Management Act (chapter 3), and then with regard to the conservation estate managed by the Department of Conservation (chapter 4).

The second volume of Te Taumata Tuarua contains the final four chapters of the report. Chapter 5 focuses on the Crown’s protection of te reo Māori (the Māori language) and its dialects, and considers in depth the current health of the language. A prepublication version of this chapter was released in October 2010. Chapter 6 considers those agencies where the Crown owns, funds, or oversees mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge and ways of knowing) and is thus effectively in the seat of kaitiaki (cultural guardian). These agencies operate in the areas of protected objects, museums, arts funding, broadcasting, archives, libraries, education, and science. Chapter 7 then examines the Crown’s support for rongoā Māori or traditional Māori healing. It also traverses the principal historical issue covered in the report, the passage and impact of the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907. Chapter 8 addresses the Crown’s policies on including Māori in the development of New Zealand’s position concerning international instruments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Each chapter ends with a brief summary of the Tribunal’s recommendations for reform, and a concluding chapter brings together its overall conclusions and recommendations. Read the media statement, including links to the report and factsheets … Download Te Taumata Tuatahi [pdf] … Download Te Taumata Tuarua vol. 1 [pdf] … Download Te Taumata Tuarua vol. 2 [pdf] …