Speak to our experts
Widely regarded as the beginning of the Māori new year, Matariki is a time to reflect on the year that has been and look to the horizon for what is to come.
“Te Ao Māori is shaping the future of Aotearoa and has been doing so for some time – but we are now seeing a quickening in the pace of that transformative change,” said Team Leader and Partner Te Aopare Dewes.
“Despite the economic impacts of the Covid pandemic on tourism, a sector in which Māori are heavily invested, the Māori economy has continued to grow and is becoming progressively more sophisticated, with increased interest from international investors and a growing pattern of inter-iwi collaboration.”
“This growing sophistication is reflected in a wide range of iwi initiatives to deal to the housing shortage as it affects Māori, and in the amazing iwi response to Cyclone Gabrielle, the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods, and the other natural disasters that have recently befallen Aotearoa New Zealand,” she said.
The emergency relief, often delivered to large numbers of distressed people in short order, was an example of mana motuhake in action.
“The Treaty based relationship with the Crown has, for the most part, been focussed on the principle of partnership. But Te Tiriti didn’t guarantee partnership. It guaranteed tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake. Māori are more determined than ever to move away from partnership with the Crown and instead exercise mana motuhake at an individual and collective level – with the Crown providing the necessary resources to support this.”
Within the legal sphere, the most important and sustained trends over recent years had been the increasing recognition of tikanga and Te Tiriti in policy, statute and the common law. Current high-profile examples of this were the purpose in the Natural and Built Environment Bill to recognise and uphold te Oranga o te Taiao and the requirement in the Water Services Entities Act 2022 that all persons performing or exercising duties, functions, or powers under the Act give effect to Te Mana o te Wai.
“Tikanga has been part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s common law since 1840 but is now expressly recognised by the courts as more than just a relevant consideration, particularly since the Supreme Court finding in the Ellis appeal that tikanga and/or tikanga-derived principles are part of the fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
“Accordingly, it is not necessary for a case to specifically concern Māori litigants, Māori issues or expressly involve the principles of the Treaty for tikanga to be relevant. That is an extremely significant development,” Te Aopare said.
Nau mai te Mātahi o te Tau!