The Waitangi Tribunal released its report about issues relating to the ownership or control of Māori culture and identity, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei (Wai 262), about eight years ago.

The Wai 262 report analysed a multitude of important issues affecting Māori, from protection of taonga works and mātauranga Māori, to Māori involvement in the drafting of international instruments.

The Tribunal made a significant number of recommendations.  

Recently the Government, acknowledging the time that has passed since the report was released, announced that it intends to develop a “whole-of-Government approach” to address the issues raised.

The Government has released a discussion paper outlining proposals on how it will organise itself in light of the report, to support conversations with targeted Māori groups (including claimant representatives from the original Wai 262 claim and Māori technical experts).

Thereafter, a further paper to Cabinet is proposed to address possible next steps by the end of this year.

The discussion paper covers, among other things:

  • A proposal for exploring ways Wai 262 issues could be addressed and coordinated in Government work. This would see a Ministerial Oversight Group sitting above three Ministerial groups covering three broad issues to coordinate the “whole-of-Government” approach.
  • Existing/upcoming work that the Government has identified to date that is likely to involve Wai 262 issues.

A number of matters remain unclear in the discussion paper. This includes the exact position of the Government on the Tribunal’s recommendations, if and how these recommendations will be addressed by the Government, and what action the Government will take to address Wai 262 issues arising other than in already existing/upcoming work.