Te Taumata is working hard to ensure Geographical Indicators and Māori Intellectual Property (IP) are protected as Aotearoa negotiates a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union.

Te Taumata believes it is crucial in any trade negotiation that there is an understanding that Māori intellectual property differs from the Western conception of intellectual property.

The latter refers to the creations of the mind that are protected by law. Māori IP, however, is founded in the body of knowledge, values and understanding of mātauranga Māori that is a taonga, which is protected by the kaitiaki relationship, and often passed down through the generations.

Geographical Indicators – which are used to differentiate products that possess the quality and/or reputation from a certain area –  are equally important for Māori as it relates to our connection to our whenua.

An extensive report co-authored by Lynell Tuffery Huria was commissioned by Te Taumata to explore how these tools can be used to protect our cultural heritage. (See more in the video below).

Te Taumata believes that while Geographical Indicators and IP are frameworks driven from an economic base, these tools can provide protection for aspects of traditional knowledge and cultural heritage, while taking into account our te ao Māori view.

Discussions around these frameworks will be integral in the development of a NZ/EU FTA that appropriately safeguards Māori enterprise on a global stage.