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9 - Navigating Values in Aotearoa New Zealand

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2024

Camillia Kong
Affiliation:
Birkbeck College, University of London
John Coggon
Affiliation:
University of Bristol
Penny Cooper
Affiliation:
Birkbeck College, University of London
Michael Dunn
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
Alex Ruck Keene
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

Introduction

Introduction and outline

New Zealand is increasingly also referred to by its te reo Māori name, Aotearoa. This social development, not unusual in postcolonial jurisdictions, is mirrored in legal developments, ranging from the status of te reo Māori as an official language (along with New Zealand Sign Language), to adding the name ‘the Oranga Tamariki Act’ to the child welfare statute originally called just the Children's and Young People's Well-Being Act 1989, to the passing of Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017, which grants legal personality to the river in question to accord with Māori notions. These statutes also contain statements of values or principles that reflect these notions: s 13 of Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017 sets out the values that represent the essence of the river, including its links with the iwi and hapū of the area. Similarly, s 4 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 identifies its purposes as promoting the ‘wellbeing of children, young persons, and their families, whānau, hapū, iwi, and family groups’, including through ‘culturally appropriate’ services. Taking the legislature to intend what is commonly understood, ‘iwi’ and ‘hapū’ are, respectively, the different nations of Māori and the smaller sub-tribes into which each iwi is split; and ‘whānau’ is an extended family.

This reflects cultures coalescing. The 2018 census6 indicates that the country has four major ethnic identifiers, namely European (70 per cent), Māori (16.5 per cent), Asian (15 per cent) and Pacific peoples (8 per cent): this adds to more than 100 per cent because of those who are culturally mixed.7 The legal framework for capacity law is reflective of this. At a broad brush level, there are laws that reflect Anglo-Saxon traditions, but often with modifications that accommodate a more collective approach found in South Pacific and Asian traditions. This chapter seeks to explore that by, first, setting out as part of the introductory section the constitutional and human rights framework

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Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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