• Completed project

Tūhonohono: tikanga Māori me te Ture Pākehā ki Takutai Moana

We investigated how mātauranga and tikanga Māori and New Zealand law can be applied in the marine estate.

Project Leader Duration Budget
Robert Joseph (University of Waikato) November 2016 – November 2018 $195,000


The relationship between mātauranga and tikanga Māori, and New Zealand law, and how they apply to Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine estate is complex.

Tūhonohono is a cohesive vision of New Zealand jurisprudence (the theory and philosophy of law relating to marine estate). We explored how laws and institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand could evolve to reflect the best values and concepts of New Zealand’s founding peoples – Māori and European.


  • Assessed the compatibility of marine policy and law with the mātauranga and tikanga Māori of specific iwi, hapū and whānau within Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka-a-Māui/Top of the South Island.
  • Investigated how mātauranga and tikanga Māori are applied in the marine environment.  
  • Explored what the enablers and/or barriers in New Zealand marine policy and law are when applying mātauranga and tikanga Māori, and what effect this has when making decisions about increased use of marine resources.  
  • Explored how legal and regulatory systems could be modified to enable them to work more cohesively with mātauranga and tikanga Māori, to achieve kaitiakitanga and ecosystem-based management outcomes specific to Māori.
  • Built on international indigenous examples that have successfully applied indigenous customary law and mainstream law to marine environments.
  • Explored innovative marine management models that implement cohesive jurisprudence and reflect the best values and concepts of both founding peoples.

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This is a national project.