The Protection of Māori Cultural Heritage: Post-Endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

I-CALL Working Paper No. 2011/02

43 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2011

See all articles by Jessica C. Lai

Jessica C. Lai

Victoria University of Wellington

Date Written: June 2011

Abstract

In April 2010, New Zealand gave its approval to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (considered to be the most comprehensive text on the rights of Indigenous peoples), after having failed to do so with the UN General Assembly in 2007. The initial reasons given by New Zealand for its negative vote are assessed herein. Following this, the paper addresses the role that the Declaration will play at the national and international level, despite that it is not legally binding. It surmises that it is an important political tool at the national level, able to be used in direct negotiations between the Māori and governments. It could further be used as an interpretive tool by the courts and government agencies. The proliferation of Declaration-consistent norms at the national level could result in either the formation of international law or the placement of such norms in bi- or multilateral agreements. The final part of this paper discusses particular Articles within the Declaration that may be used to protect Māori cultural identity and cultural heritage and their legal applicability.

Keywords: UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Māori, cultural heritage, cultural diversity, self-determination, intellectual property

JEL Classification: K11, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Lai, Jessica C., The Protection of Māori Cultural Heritage: Post-Endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (June 2011). I-CALL Working Paper No. 2011/02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1961483 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1961483

Jessica C. Lai (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington
New Zealand

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