Māori Culture in the Modern World: Its Creation, Appropriation and Trade

I-CALL Working Paper No. 2

47 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2011

See all articles by Jessica C. Lai

Jessica C. Lai

Victoria University of Wellington

Date Written: September 2010


As a consequence of the colonization of New Zealand and the subsequent removal of many Māori from their traditional social structures and norms, Māori culture and identity has become muddied in the Pākehā dominated world. Exactly what it is to be Māori and the extent to which culture defines identity is not agreed upon. In this paper, it is discussed why Māori interests and needs, with respect to their cultural heritage, should be met, in relation to the benefits from its use and trade, socially and economically. This is followed by an analysis why current intellectual property regimes do not allow for this. Finally, a survey of recent 'pop-culture' appropriations of Māori culture is made and, from the reaction of prominent Māori to these, the interests and needs of the Māori and how they can best be met are extrapolated.

Keywords: Māori cultural heritage, Māori identity, appropriation, protection of Māori cultural heritage, intellectual property

JEL Classification: K11, K30

Suggested Citation

Lai, Jessica C., Māori Culture in the Modern World: Its Creation, Appropriation and Trade (September 2010). I-CALL Working Paper No. 2, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1961482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1961482

Jessica C. Lai (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

PO Box 600
New Zealand

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