Kai Ora Honey ltd family members, have been in the New Zealand Honey Industry for over 70 years combined, during this time we have seen international exploitation of our Taonga Mānuka.
Today we are seeing Bio Prospecting (that is, the search, extraction, and examination of biological material or its molecular, biochemical, or genetic content to determine its potential to yield a commercial product) of our Taonga Species happening at rapid pace.
Kanuka, is becoming the next largest internationally researched Taonga Species in 2020
Current laws and policies are not designed to recognise and support kaitiaki relationships. Instead, they allow others to conduct research, obtain IP rights in, and commercialise, genetic and biological resources in taonga species, without informing kaitiaki or obtaining their consent.
As there is little place for kaitiaki interests in current laws and policies controlling research into and IP in taonga species; Kai Ora Honey Ltd during 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic entered a partnership with ANT Trust to develop Muriwhenua Biotech with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) in Te Tai Tokerau.
Current policies do not provide for kaitiaki participation in decision-making about bioprospecting involving taonga species and Māori traditional knowledge, they also do not provide for kaitiaki to share in the benefits of bioprospecting based on their taonga species or knowledge.
We believe now is the time for us to work together to secure the future protection of our Taonga Species; before another is lost to international exploitation.
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What are ‘taonga species’ and why we as Maori should protect them?
‘Taonga species’ is a term the Tribunal has used to refer to species of flora and fauna that are significant to the culture or identity of Māori iwi or hapū – for example, because there is a body of inherited knowledge relating to them, they are related to the iwi or hapū by whakapapa, and the iwi or hapū is obliged to act as their kaitiaki.
What are genetic and biological resources?
‘Biological resources’ of taonga species refers to any physical material in those species which has some value or use to humanity. ‘Genetic resources’ are a subset of biological resources and refer to genetic information in the DNA of those species which has some value or use.
See Ko Aotearoa Tēnei chapter 2 for full details of the Tribunal’s findings and recommendations.