It’s been 25 years since the Mataatua Declaration (on the Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples) was developed. 26 years since the WAI-262 Indigenous Flora and Fauna Waitangi Tribunal Claim was lodged and 7 years since the Tribunal released its’ Ko Aotearoa Tēnei’ report on the claim, and yet, are we any clearer about accessing, utiising and benefit-sharing of taonga Māori – indigenous flora and fauna and Māori iconography, artforms and te reo?
Is this generation doing enough to safeguard the heritage of future generations? Cultural misappropriation is still occuring on a regular basis nationally and globally.The same is true for indigenous peoples throughout the world. New Zealand’s intellectual property laws and practices are still not addressing the core issues Māori have been consistently raising. It is timely to meet, discuss, debate and develop our own responses, protocols and key messages for legal reform.