Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission will produce a detailed study paper that examines tikanga Māori and its place in Aotearoa New Zealand’s legal landscape.
Tikanga Māori has been steadily gaining recognition in the courts and in statutes. Te Kōti Mana Nui has recently affirmed that tikanga Māori may be a source of enforceable rights and interests and is relevant to developing the common law. Tikanga is also expressly recognised, in various ways, in many Acts of Parliament. Despite this, understanding of tikanga Māori, what it is, and where and how it should be applied in these contexts is limited.
The object of the study paper is to address these important questions. To this end, the study paper will give an explanation of tikanga Māori, including an account of what it is and where it comes from, grounded in mātauranga Māori. The paper will also “map” tikanga Māori as a system of law, drawing on, among other sources, expressions of tikanga in the courts and Waitangi Tribunal. Finally, the paper will look at the interface between tikanga Māori and institutional law, including the common law and legislation, with a view to providing a principled framework for engagement.
The planned paper will build on the Study Paper, Māori Custom and Values in New Zealand Law, published by Te Aka Matua o te Ture in 2001.