Tikanga Māori

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Tikanga is a Māori concept with a wide range of meanings — culture, custom, ethic, etiquette, fashion, formality, lore, manner, meaning, mechanism, method, protocol, style.

Generally taken to mean "the Māori way of doing things", it is derived from the Māori word tika meaning 'right' or 'correct'.

From about the 1980s it began to appear in common New Zealand English because of new laws that specified the need for consultation with local iwi (tribal) representatives in many major fields such as resource management.

On July 2, 2011, the Waitangi Tribunal released its report into the Wai 262 claim, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei ("This is Aotearoa (New Zealand)").[1] The report considers more than 20 Government departments and agencies and makes recommendations as to reforms of "laws, policies or practices relating to health, education, science, intellectual property, indigenous flora and fauna, resource management, conservation, the Māori language, arts and culture, heritage, and the involvement of Māori in the development of New Zealand’s positions on international instruments affecting indigenous rights."[2]

The second volume of the report contains a glossary of te reo Māori terms, including:

  • tikanga: traditional rules for conducting life, custom, method, rule, law
  • tikanga Māori: Māori traditional rules, culture

For an interpretation of the conflicts between Tikanga Maori and Western/Pakeha jurisprudence, see the case of the burial of James Takamore.


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