Tikanga Māori

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Tikanga is a Māori concept incorporating practices and values from mātauranga Māori, Māori knowledge. [1] Tikanga is translated into the English language with a wide range of meanings culture, custom, ethic, etiquette, fashion, formality, lore, manner, meaning, mechanism, method, protocol, style, customary law.

Māori scholar Hirini Moko Mead states that tikanga can be viewed from several perspectives. One view is that tikanga Māori 'controls interpersonal relationships' as it guides the interactions of meetings, and provides identity to individuals. Another view is through ethics, that tikanga Māori is a practised code of conduct. The word tikanga is derived from the Māori word tika meaning 'right' or 'correct' so it follows that it involves moral judgements about what is the right way of doing something. [1]

Lawyers view tikanga Māori through the lens of customary law, which comes from an authority rather than a normative system. [1] This is being tested in the New Zealand judicial system through a few legal cases. For an interpretation of the conflicts between Tikanga Maori and Western/Pākehā jurisprudence, see the case of the burial of James Takamore (2011). In the course of her judgement on that case, Chief Justice of New Zealand Sian Elias stated that "Māori custom according to tikanga is... part of the values of the New Zealand common law." [2] Justice Joe Williams has written and studied tikanga and the New Zealand law. In his future vision there is a phase "when tikanga Māori fuses with New Zealand’s common law tradition to form a hybrid law of Aotearoa that could be developed by judges, case by base." [3] [4]

From about the 1980s the word tikanga it began to appear in common New Zealand English. This can be attributed to the Māori renaissance as well as acts of the New Zealand government including the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and the Resource Management Act (1991) that include the need for consultation with local iwi (tribal) representatives. [5]

On 2 July 2011, the Waitangi Tribunal released its report into the Wai 262 claim, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei ("This is Aotearoa (New Zealand)"). [6] The report considers more than 20 Government departments and agencies and makes recommendations as to reforms of "laws, policies or practices relating to health, education, science, intellectual property, indigenous flora and fauna, resource management, conservation, the Māori language, arts and culture, heritage, and the involvement of Māori in the development of New Zealand’s positions on international instruments affecting indigenous rights." [7] The second volume of the report contains a glossary of te reo Māori terms, including:

An example of applied tikanga is an approach by Māori weavers in the gathering of traditional materials such as harakeke. One tikanga is to never cut the inside leaves of the plant, the names of these leaves are the rito and this is metaphorically linked to growth of humans. Practically it ensures the life cycle of the plant, that the harvesting of the fibre doesn't kill the plant and it also connects the value of the resource to the people that use it. [8]

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The burial of James Takamore was a bicultural family conflict and legal precedent in New Zealand, reflecting the tension between Māori tikanga and English-based common law. James Takamore was born into the Whakatohea and Tūhoe iwi in the Bay of Plenty but lived as a Pākehā with his Pākehā wife in Christchurch, returning to the North Island only twice in 20 years and expressing to third parties his non-identification as Māori. A dispute arose whether he should be buried in Christchurch, as his wife intended, or in the traditional urupa of his family.

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  1. 1 2 3 Mead, Sidney M. (2016). Tikanga Māori : living by Māori values (Revised ed.). Wellington. ISBN   978-1-77550-222-7. OCLC   936552206.
  2. Josephine Takamore v Denise Clarke,SC 131/2011 [2012] NZSC 116, paragraph 94( Supreme Court of New Zealand 18 December 2012).
  3. Van Beynen, Martin (8 July 2020). "The Peter Ellis case and Māori customary law". Stuff. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  4. Maxwell, Joel (18 September 2020). "Justice Joe Williams on te reo Māori, and synthesising Aotearoa law". Stuff. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  5. "New Zealand Legislation". New Zealand Legislation. New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office/Te Tari Tohutohu Pāremata. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  6. "Time to Move beyond Grievance in Treaty Relationship". 2 July 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  7. "Ko Aotearoa Tēnei: Report on the Wai 262 Claim Released". Waitangi Tribunal . Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  8. Puketapu-Hetet, Erenora (2016). Māori weaving. Lower Hutt. ISBN   978-0-473-37129-6. OCLC   974620127.

See also