Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho Conference-Nelson

  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Māori Development

Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho Conference-Nelson

8:50am, Monday 17 September 2018 – opening address


  • Ngā iwi o Te Tau Ihu
    • Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne, Ngāti Apa
    • Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua and Ngāti Toa
    • Ngāti Tama and Te Āti Awa
  • The whānau of the Wai 262 claimants
  • And the whānau, hapū and iwi who are represented here today.
  • Thank you for inviting me to give the opening address for this conference. The title says it all – Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho: Our Past, Our Future, Our Legacy.
  • The kaupapa of this conference – Māori cultural and intellectual property rights – is important, complex, interesting, wide-ranging, progressive and exciting.
  • When I think about a metaphor that brings together the intent of your deliberations, I’m drawn to a ‘waka hourua.’  We need to navigate the intrepid waters here and afar, drawing on our indigenous knowledge, our Mātauranga - protecting its essence while being able to engage with the world.
  • The diversity represented at this wānanga demonstrates the significance of a kaupapa that cuts right to the heart of our Māoritanga, our culture, te reo Māori, our Mātauranga and epistemologies.
  • I want to acknowledge the many who have passed and been the protectors of culture, language and knowledge so that we may inherit those taonga and in turn pass them on to our children and mokopuna.

The Crown and Māori Intellectual Property

  • The Crown has obligations to protect mātauranga Māori, and the interests of kaitiaki in that mātauranga.
  • Doing so can only be achieved through partnership.  To paraphrase the words of Joe Williams in the Wai 262 report “for neither Māori nor the Crown can succeed in protecting and transmitting mātauranga without the help of the other”
  • Wai 262, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei, the Waitangi Tribunal’s report into the claims concerning New Zealand law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity, and the issues raised in that report, are central to the kaupapa of this conference.
  • And the lack of a Crown response to date is a matter that I could sidestep. But that wouldn’t do justice to the people that brought the claim before the Waitangi Tribunal and who are no longer with us.
  • Quite simply, we can do better. I want to consider a different approach to the way the Section 8I report is presented to Parliament.  
  • The Section 8I report seems to have a transactional nature to it when it could be so much more.  Such as looking towards prospective measuring in how policy can be framed and implemented.
  • In a contemporary claims context, we need more dialogue to drive better policy in that context.
  • Cabinet is yet to consider a response to Wai 262 and in the context of our Coalition Government and where we are heading, there is a different opportunity.
  • We have established the Crown Māori portfolio and are committed to intergenerational outcomes.
  • We are committing to a well-being budget. We are looking to reform the State Services Act - making real our aspiration to lift outcomes for our people.  We are committed to progressing the Trade for All Agenda.
  • My colleague, the Honourable Kris Faafoi, will be making some important announcements on the work our Government is doing on New Zealand’s intellectual property system and its relevance to Wai 262.
  • But, first I want to use this opportunity to speak to you about some of the developments that intersect, overlap and traverse Māori cultural and intellectual property rights.

Results so far

  • Plenty of work has taken place to date that is relevant to the findings and recommendations of Wai 262. But I don’t want to overstate the examples as there is more work to do.
    • The passing of Te Ture mō Te Reo Māori in 2016 (the Māori Language Act)
    • Mechanisms developed via the Treaty settlement process that provide greater iwi input into environmental management through co-governance and co-management arrangements
    • The Te Urewera Act 2014 which gives effect to the kaitiaki relationship of Ngāi Tūhoe with Te Urewera
    • The Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017 which confers legal personality to the Whanganui River
    • The Haka Ka Mate Attribution Act 2014. This unique legislation provides an attribution right in favour of Ngāti Toa in relation to the haka, Ka Mate. Through this Act, the Crown acknowledges the significance of Ka Mate as an integral part of the history, culture and identity of Ngāti Toa as kaitiaki of the haka.
    • And the refresh of He Korowai Oranga (the Māori Health Strategy) which includes the implementation of Tikanga-ā-Rongoā standards to deliver safe, quality rongoā services
  • These are just a few examples and we are getting on and doing more across Government.
  • But the thing is, Government has not always explained the link between the work we do and the Wai 262 report.
  • That is something I think we can do better in future. I know there is more work to do to progress the recommendations of Wai 262.  
  • We can see just from looking at the Wai 262 report, and indeed the conference programme, that the issues are complex. We need to keep asking ourselves:
    • How should mātauranga Māori be protected and used in today’s world?
    • How our taonga species, and our cultural taonga should, be protected?
    • How do we enable international trade alongside obligations to safeguard indigenous knowledge in maintaining the biodiversity of Plant Earth?
    • How do we ensure that our culture is not misappropriated?
    • What role should the Crown play? What role do Māori play? How do we do this together?
  • I cannot say that I have definitive answers to these questions.  
  • I have asked my officials to update the 2016 stocktake from across government so we can have an accurate sense of what need to happen to start to prioritise key actions.
  • This will help Cabinet consider its next steps and I am seeking your support for that work.


Te Reo Māori

  • I want to touch briefly on te reo Māori.  Revitalisation of te reo Māori was also an important part of the Wai 262 report.
  • Right now we are in the heart of Mahuru Māori and we have just finishing celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori for another year.
  • Language plays a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication and education, but also as a repository for identity, culture, history, and tradition.
  • Last month, I released the draft of the Maihi Karauna – the Crown Strategy for Māori language revitalisation.
  • It outlines what the government will do to support a strong, healthy, and thriving Māori language.
  • Alongside the Maihi Māori, the two strategies are intended to achieve a shared vision that will be realised when te reo Māori is shared and a normal part of New Zealand culture and society; everywhere, everyway, by everyone, every day.
  • One of the goals of Maihi Karauna is Aotearoatanga – that Aotearoa New Zealand values te reo Māori as a key element of national identity by 2040.
  • The role of Maihi Karauna is to create the conditions for te reo Māori to thrive as a living language.
  • But the bigger question is how government can create the best conditions to enable the intergenerational transfer of Mātauranga Māori while maximising its use in domestic and international markets.
  • It is clear that initiatives must be advanced in partnership between the Crown and Māori. The model set by the Maihi Māori and Maihi Karauna provides a framework for this.
  • Now it’s time to move the conversation from consultation and engagement to collaboration and co-design. 
  • Another example of this is the work I have asked my officials to undertake is in relation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • It is my vision that the Crown and Māori will work together to develop a national plan of action for the implementation of the Declaration. It’s important for this scorecard or progress map to demonstrate a whole of Government approach.
  • I raise this today because many of you know that New Zealand has a good reputation internationally when it comes to indigenous issues. But just as important, is what we do, here at home to ensure that we continue to advance and push on domestic targets to recognise our progress in the UN.

Māori Economic Development

Māori Business

  • We also know that intellectual property is important in the world of business.
  • While businesses strive to create authenticity and depth in their brands, Māori values and culture can and do play a vital part in creating genuine and authentic competitive advantages for Māori that are difficult to replicate.
  • In fact, there are many Māori businesses already flourishing on the international stage by leveraging our unique values and culture
  • For example, I look to Wakatū Incorporation with its food and beverage business, Kono, as a prime example.
  • But because there isn’t yet consensus on how mātauranga Māori and other cultural assets can and should be used appropriately in commercial settings, it can be difficult for Māori to really make the most of opportunities.
  • Government wants to support work to progress the establishment of sound policy and legislative platforms for how Māori cultural and intellectual property rights are provided for in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • This will help to create certainty and remove risk.
  • Business and ownership models that balance the principles of kaitiakitanga and collective ownership with the freedom to operate commercially to generate revenues need to be developed.
  • But we wouldn’t be starting from scratch. A number of businesses are already developing their own commercial models. I see great potential in this area.


  • Government is also focused on Trade. It is a critical part of our economy. It also has a direct link between economic sustainability and quality of life.
  • On trade policy, we are working to bring Māori and policy much closer together.
  • This is so that New Zealand’s trade agenda properly protects and reflects Māori rights, interests and aspirations in a rapidly changing international environment.
  • As part of this, we recognise that Māori viewpoints have not always been heard and the ‘Trade for All’ consultation process is intended to remedy that. 
  • The Trade for All Agenda aims to take a fresh look at trade policy in Aotearoa while also ensuring that Māori interests and aspirations are provided for.
  • What we need to figure out, is how to set trade policy that will deliver more for our people and our businesses, while ensuring that we maintain our autonomy with trade partners.
  • We also need to ensure the protection of Māori rights and interests alongside the ability to leverage a competitive advantage based on a platform of indigeneity.
  • I encourage you to participate in that process. You can give your feedback via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website or to MFAT officials. I understand that a Trade for All hui will be held here tomorrow evening.
  • We also want to explore the opportunities for Māori in trade. As part of this, Te Puni Kōkiri is working closely with MFAT to prepare studies of Māori business interests and aspirations in key markets, to better inform MFAT’s negotiating mandates. 
  • A study has been completed for the Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreement and we are getting work underway on the European Union Trade Agreement.
  • We are also looking to link up with international indigenous communities, to enable cross fertilisation of ideas and a united voice on how best to support indigenous economies.
  • In the medium to long term, these connections could also improve access to international markets and provide opportunities for indigenous-to-indigenous trade and investment.
  • We recognise that in undertaking such activities, we need to be clear about what we are trying to achieve and to ensure that Māori will truly benefit.
  • As we shape this strategy, we will be looking for input from our Māori business community.
  • These issues (and more) will also be discussed at the World Indigenous Business Forum in Rotorua next month.
  • I look forward to taking part in those discussions and to hearing from other indigenous peoples on how they are approaching these issues as well.

New Zealand Māori Tourism

  • Now, I want to talk briefly about this country’s largest export industry – Tourism.
  • The kaupapa of this conference is important to tourism because it is about the story we tell our manuhiri when they visit our shores. Its about the iconography and narrative used to advertise Aotearoa offshore.
  • As tangata whenua when stand up and introduce ourselves, we identify ourselves with our mountains, our rivers and our ancestral marae. We are continually aware of our inseparable bond to the place we descend from and our obligations as kaitiaki.
  • And this is important because it is Māori values and ideals that provide the competitive advantage for Māori businesses. It is Māori values and ideals that underpin the New Zealand Story and our national identity.
  • New Zealand Māori Tourism looks to work with a number of iwi throughout the motu providing advice on tourism ventures – notwithstanding the fact that each iwi have their own way of doing things!
  • And in this work, I am pleased to see that the integrity of our stories, our narratives, and our values are upheld.
  • But the question is, how do we ensure that our taonga tuku iho remain taonga – tuku iho?  

Te Pātaka

  • When considering Māori development, our challenge is how to expand opportunities for shared prosperity, connect whānau to the engines of growth and enhance the resilience of whanau. 
  • For me, the key ingredients are to take a regional approach – and ensure:
    • engagement in all levels of decision making
    • equitable access to employment, business and investment opportunities
    • that Māori are provided with the tools to enable a transition to high value sectors and the low carbon economy
    • That regulatory barriers are cleared away and Māori can access to good infrastructure and key services.
  • In my view, it is only if these key ingredients are present, that there will be a step change in Māori economic development that leads to intergenerational wellbeing. 


The Living Standards Framework

  • Mātauranga Māori is directly linked to our present and future wellbeing.
  • It contributes to our uniqueness as indigenous peoples, and as a nation.
  • This government’s approach to protecting and advancing wellbeing for Māori is through the Living Standards Framework.
  • As a policy framework, the Living Standards Framework is attempting to do something courageous and really important.
  • It is trying to look beyond GDP as a measure of our national wellbeing and emphasise a more holistic approach to wellbeing and prosperity.
  • I speak about the Living Standards Framework here because it is a way that this government is committed to working to realise intergenerational wellbeing.
  • That is vitally important when we consider that the transmission of mātauranga has always been intergenerational.
  • But to be effective, this framework needs to incorporate ao Māori perspectives – not just for the benefit of Māori, but for the benefit of the nation.
  • The Living Standards Framework should represent the values and aspirations of our country.
  • It should, in my view, be the living embodiment of what the Treaty of Waitangi envisaged for all citizens, and Māori as indigenous peoples in particular.
  • The indigenous component of the framework has real potential to shift the type of conversation that policy makers can lead towards a long-term vision, prioritising investment, committing to integrated solutions and focusing on outcomes that improve wellbeing and share prosperity.
  • This provides the foundation on which we can build to ensure equity in participation, access and opportunity.
  • It is a common foundation for realising aspiration, that the wealth of our nation is shared among us all.
  • Embedding te ao Māori perspectives within the Living Standards Framework, alongside other changes to legislation, helps to create a new environment.
  • An environment that increases equity of opportunity and access for Māori, and enhances our wellbeing and identity as a nation.
  • And we do this so that our rangatahi, tamariki and mokopuna – our future leaders – inherit a system that is not foreign to them, but one that reflects their values, their culture and their identity. 

Final Remarks

  • In the nearly 12 months since we came into office much work has been done, there is much more work for us to do.
  • We know that Māori culture and identity need to be valued and incorporated into the development of government policy from the outset.
  • The challenge for this government is to do that alongside our people to ensure that systems work for us all.
  • You’ve heard it before, but I truly believe that if it’s good for Māori then it’s good for Aotearoa New Zealand. 
  • I wish you well as you debate, discuss and progress the complex and varied issues during this conference and into the future.
  • Minister Faafoi and I, together with our officials, are here to listen and look forward to the feedback.
  • It is important that we continue the conversations after this conference
  • Tena Koutou Katoa!