how Māori concepts are being incorporated into New Zealand law
When English settlers first arrived in New Zealand, they brought with them pests, diseases and England’s common law. Indigenous Māori already had legal customs in the form of tikanga, a set of rules and principles which governed daily life. But the settlers dismissed Māori as “savages” and tikanga as primitive. As their power grew, so did the common law’s. Eventually, though many Māori still followed tikanga, it was pushed to the legal margins.
That is starting to change. In 2020 New Zealand’s supreme court allowed a dead man’s appeal to continue, apparently on the basis that his mana (the Māori concept of status) continues to fluctuate after death. This year the court quashed a mining company’s appeal over a resource consent application partly on the basis that it was inconsistent with tikanga.