Māori Perspectives on Biosecurity Decision Making

Host Faculty: Law
General Subject Area: Law, Policy
Project Level: Master's
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Maori Carving Portrait

In 2019, the government announced an overhaul of the Biosecurity Act 1993 to adapt it to the changing nature of biosecurity threats in New Zealand. In its Terms of Reference, it identified the relationship between Te Ao Māori and the biosecurity regulatory framework as a known issue. Māori resources and taonga are directly affected by biosecurity threats. According to Treaty Principles, Māori should therefore be involved in biosecurity decision-making processes. However, it appears that neither Māori values nor mātauranga are consistently considered by biosecurity decision-makers. This may be in part because of a lack of structured frameworks in biosecurity decision-making. It may also be due to a lack of capacity or capability on the side of the decision-makers, or because the regulatory framework is not sufficiently flexible to allow for appropriate co-operative decision-making.

This project will investigate how and to what extent Māori cultural values and Māori traditional knowledge (mātauranga) current biosecurity decision-making processes align with Treaty principles and therefore protect Māori values and mātauranga. Based on its findings, it will consider ways of improving cultural decision-making so that Māori values and mātauranga can be carefully implemented in a robust, consistent and meaningful way.


Supervisor: Sascha Mueller

Key qualifications and skills

Strong legal or law related skills and an interest in applying those skills to biosecurity and to Māori interests.

Does the project come with funding

Yes - $27,000 stipend + domestic fees.

Final date for receiving applications

November 2022


Law, policy, biosecurity, Māori