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Treaty of Waitangi and new organisms

This page explains how Māori are involved in decision making about genetic modification and other issues concerning new organisms.

Implementing the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification's recommendations

In 2002, the Government amended the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO Act) to better reflect the Treaty of Waitangi following a recommendation of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. A Māori Reference Group was set up to assist with this.

The HSNO Act was amended to add knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi and tikanga Māori to the range of expertise and experience the Minister considers when appointing members to the Environmental Protection Authority Board. The amendments required those involved in the decision-making process on new organisms (including GMOs) to give greater emphasis to the knowledge and experience of Māori values.

Other Māori representation

The HSNO Act provides for a Māori Advisory Committee, Nga Kaihautu Taiao, to advise the Environmental Protection Authority on decisions about new organisms. Māori are also represented on the Institutional Biological Safety Committees. The Environmental Protection Authority delegates decisions on applications involving certain low-risk GMOs in containment to these committees.