Indigenous Intellectual Property
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Indigenous Intellectual Property

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Edited by Matthew Rimmer

This Handbook considers the international struggle to provide for proper and just protection of Indigenous intellectual property. Leading scholars consider legal and policy controversies over Indigenous knowledge in the fields of international law, copyright law, trademark law, patent law, trade secrets law, and cultural heritage. This collection examines national developments in Indigenous intellectual property from around the world. As well as examining the historical origins of conflicts over Indigenous knowledge, the volume examines new challenges to Indigenous intellectual property from emerging developments in information technology, biotechnology, and climate change.
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Chapter 21: Diluted control: a critical analysis of the Wai 262 report on Māori traditional knowledge and culture

Fleur Adcock


In 2011, New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal released its long-awaited report concerning the nature of Māori rights over their traditional knowledge and culture: Ko Aotearoa Tēnei. The Waitangi Tribunal, an independent commission of inquiry, is mandated to consider and make recommendations on claims by Māori regarding breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 that is widely regarded as New Zealand’s founding document. The claim that the report addresses – referred to as Wai 262 – was lodged in 1991 by individuals from six iwi (nations) who were concerned about the exploitation of their traditional knowledge and the commodification of Indigenous flora and fauna. It was popularly known as the Indigenous flora and fauna and cultural and intellectual property claim but it was far more encompassing. At heart it was a claim about mātauranga Māori: ‘the unique Māori way of viewing the world, incorporating both Māori culture and Māori traditional knowledge’. In addition to exploring Māori rights to Indigenous flora and fauna and their cultural and intellectual property, the report also considers Māori interests in the environment, the protection of the Māori language, the Crown’s control of mātauranga Māori, traditional Māori healing and the impact on Māori of the Crown’s entry into international commitments.

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