Te Aka Matua o te Ture | the Law Commission has published a new study paper, He Poutama, to provide information on the current and future interaction between tikanga and state law.

The study paper had two goals. The first was to provide an account of what tikanga is, and second was to address how state law might best engage with tikanga.

Tikanga Māori has been steadily gaining recognition in the courts and in statutes. The Law Commission notes that despite this, understanding of tikanga outside of Māori communities is limited, which has potential implications for the integrity of tikanga and the coherent development of the law.

He Poutama was guided by input from experts on the interaction between tikanga and the law, government officials, legal experts, and feedback from the judiciary.

The paper, which is divided into three parts, considers the following:

  1. The nature of tikanga and its function and placement within te ao Māori;
  2. The interaction between tikanga and state law; and
  3. Tools to guide law makers on the interaction between tikanga and the law.

The Law Commission recognised that there is a significant risk that tikanga may be adversely affected by state law, and therefore expressed that care needs to be taken in the interpretation and application of tikanga by law makers (including the judiciary).

You can read more about the study paper here.

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