An amendment to plant variety rights laws is currently being considered by Parliament. One significant way in which this proposed law will modernise the current laws is by implementing Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) obligations relating to plant variety rights (PVR).

A PVR is an intellectual property right which gives the owner the exclusive right to propagate and produce for sale plant material of that variety.

The proposed law will “protect kaitiaki relationships with taonga species and matauranga Maori” (which means Maori knowledge), and create a separate provision to acknowledge the Crown’s obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The new Bill also states that the role of the Maori Plant Varieties Committee is to assess whether any plant varieties rights application “...will, or could, have adverse effects on 1 or more kaitiaki relationships with the plant variety that is the subject of the PVR application”. The Bill also provides the right to appeal against certain decisions to the Maori Appellate Court.

These changes represent a clear intention of the Crown to fulfil its obligations relating to plant variety rights under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and provides legislative recognition of the importance of kaitiaki relationships with taonga species and matauranga Maori.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.