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Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Wai 262 Claim

By Ann

Over 3000 claims have been made to the Waitangi Tribunal during its first 40 years of existence.

Having worked on historical district enquiries, the Tribunal now endeavours to complete the kaupapa enquiries — which cover issues of national significance. Wai 262 claim is a kaupapa inquiry — often referred to as the Flora and Fauna claim.

A report was issued in 2011 for the claim, brought by six iwi, but there is a continuing feeling of dissatisfaction with that report as unfinished business. All six original iwi representatives are now deceased. The breadth of the claim is immense:

The report encompassed the issues of taonga works and intellectual property (trademarks and copyright); taonga species and intellectual property (patents and plant variety rights); management of the environment generally (the Resource Management Act) and the conservation estate specifically (the Department of Conservation); te reo Māori (including tribal dialects); rongoā Māori; the negotiation of international agreements; and the Crown’s control or funding of mātauranga Māori across archives, libraries, museums, the regime governing protected objects, education, the arts.

He Manutukutuku is a commemorative issue for the 40th anniversary of the Waitangi Tribunal. Paul Hamer, p. 56, describes the Wai 262 claim:

Wai 262 is also regarded as the Tribunal’s first ever whole-of-government inquiry, in that it scrutinised the policies and performance of 20 government departments and agencies.

The original claimants: (representing Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāti Koata) were profiled at the Wai 262 Online Symposium, Waipapa Marae on 19 July 2021. Intro-Speaker presentations from the Wai 262 online symposium and speaker Maui Solomon's presentation can be viewed online.

You can also watch the full length film Wai 262 online (via NZ On Screen).

Book recommendation:

Ko Aotearoa tēnei : te taumata tuarua : a report into claims concerning New Zealand law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity