Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission has produced 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 was to address these important questions. To this end, the Study Paper gives an explanation of tikanga Māori, including an account of what it is and where it comes from, grounded in mātauranga Māori. The Paper “maps” tikanga Māori as a system of law, drawing on, among other sources, expressions of tikanga in the courts and Waitangi Tribunal. Finally, the paper looks 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 Paper builds on the Study Paper, Māori Custom and Values in New Zealand Law (NZLC SP9), published by Te Aka Matua o te Ture in 2001.
He rongo pāpāho
In the media
The Law Association | 30 September 2023
Māpuna, Radio New Zealand | 25 September 2023
New Zealand Herald | 21 September 2023
He Poutama (NZLC SP24, 2023)
Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission has published a Study Paper, He Poutama (NZLC SP24), which completes the tikanga Māori project led by Hon Justice Christian Whata. The Study Paper reviews tikanga in Aotearoa New Zealand law and aims to give guidance to law makers and others interested in the ongoing interaction of tikanga and state law.
The three parts of the Paper consider, respectively: the nature of tikanga, the past and present-day interaction of tikanga in common law and legislation, and principles and tools to guide future state law-tikanga engagement.
Additional to the Study Paper are four appendices, three of which are externally commissioned independently authored expert papers:
- Appendix One – Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi pūkenga Professors Wiremu Doherty, Tā Hirini Moko Mead and Tā Pou Temara describe tikanga.
- Appendix Two – Natalie Coates and Horiana Irwin-Easthope of the law firms Kāhui Legal and Whāia Legal collate expert tikanga explanations from a review of more than 800 briefs of evidence from court and Waitangi Tribunal proceedings.
- Appendix Three – Associate Professor Nicole Roughan of the University of Auckland Faculty of Law theorises a way of considering the interaction of simultaneously independent and interdependent legal orders.
- Appendix Four – A timeline of statutory and common law engagement with tikanga.