Intellectual Property - Mātauranga Māori

Approval Date
1 June 2020
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: Kaitohutohu
Baldrige Criteria

This policy is intended to maintain and enhance Otago Polytechnic Limited’s commitment to upholding the Treaty of Waitangi by giving specific expression to the relationship between intellectual property and mātauranga Māori.

The Mātauranga Māori Policy:

  • Clarifies the ownership of intellectual property (IP) developed by staff and learners that incorporates mātauranga Māori;
  • Intends to foster and empower individual and collective innovation by recognising and respecting pre-existing rights and responsibilities in relation to mātauranga Māori;
  • Encourages the sharing of mātauranga Māori by recognising and respecting rights and responsibilities in relation to mātauranga Māori; and
  • Provides guidelines for commercialisation of IP incorporating mātauranga Māori.

This policy seeks to give effect to the spirit and terms of the Memorandum of Understanding with Kā Papatipu Rūnaka ki Araiteuru and the priorities and aspirations articulated in Te Kura Matatini Ki Ōtāgo Māori Strategic Framework 2016

- 2018.



Mātauranga Māori

In this policy, mātauranga Māori means the knowledge, innovations and practices which are: generated, preserved and transmitted within Māori communities and between generations; distinctively associated with or linked to traditional Māori culture or communities through a sense of custodianship or cultural responsibility; or identified by the source community as being mātauranga Māori. Mātauranga Māori includes, but is not limited to:

  • Literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works;
  • Traditional ecological knowledge;
  • Traditional medicinal knowledge;
  • Place names;
  • Tikanga Māori (Māori law and ethical understandings); and
  • The philosophical/epistemological systems underpinning all of the above.

Mātauranga Māori includes knowledge, innovations and practices which may or may not be recognised and/or protected under statutory intellectual property instruments, and is not subject to the originality, novelty, and duration prescriptions of those statutes.

Mātauranga Māori includes knowledge, innovations and practices that originate in

historical and contemporary times.

Should any dispute arise as to whether a particular knowledge, innovation or practice should be classified as mātauranga Māori, the opinion of the originating community or individual shall take precedence

Intellectual Property - includes the rights to all created work. Also refer Otago Polytechnic Limited policy Intellectual Property.


1.          Rights and Responsibilities over Mātauranga Māori

1.1.         Mātauranga Māori is recognised by Otago Polytechnic Limited as an evolving ancestral inheritance that is a taonga protected under the Treaty of Waitangi and which serves to maintain, enhance, transmit and generate cultural identity within Māori communities. Otago Polytechnic Limited accepts that under tikanga Māori (Māori law and ethics) Māori individuals and communities have conditional rights to use and access mātauranga Māori, contingent upon their fulfilment of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) obligations.

1.2.         Otago Polytechnic Limited recognises that mātauranga Māori introduced to the Polytechnic by staff or learners remains subject to the kaitiakitanga obligations and principles recognised by the originating community and/or individual(s). Accordingly, Otago Polytechnic Limited will support originating communities and/or individuals to fulfill kaitiakitanga obligations in respect of mātauranga Māori incorporated into materials held by Otago Polytechnic Limited and will also act as a secondary kaitiaki in collaboration with the originating community and/or individual.

1.3.         Otago Polytechnic Limited recognises that the use and development of mātauranga Māori is subject to the overriding principles and obligations of kaitiakitanga. Therefore, Otago Polytechnic Limited will at all times ensure that access to and use of IP containing mātauranga Māori maintains and enhances the integrity of the mātauranga and the originating community and/or individual.

2.          Intellectual Property and Mātauranga Māori

2.1.         Intellectual property created in the course of work, study, or research that incorporates mātauranga Māori, or elements thereof, shall be treated as creating severable ownership interests.

2.2.         The intellectual property creation shall be subject to ownership as provided under this policy, and under policy MP1100 Intellectual Property, whereas the mātauranga Māori shall remain under the ownership and kaitiaki relationship of the originating community and/or individual.

3.          Mātauranga Māori held by staff or learners

3.1.         Otago Polytechnic Limited recognises that staff and learners may be repositories of mātauranga Māori.

3.2.         The Polytechnic does not assume rights or responsibilities over mātauranga Māori held by staff and learners unless and until a contract to that effect has been executed enabling assignment or transmission to the Polytechnic.

4.          Mātauranga Māori held by Research Collaborators

4.2.         Otago Polytechnic Limited recognises the valuable role of Māori communities and individuals as research partners and participants. In respect of any research collaborations with Māori communities and/or individuals, the Polytechnic will enter into specific contracts so as to give effect to the aspirations and obligations of the originating community and/or individual.

4.3.         The Polytechnic will not assume any proprietary interest of the mātauranga contributed by research collaborators without their free, prior, and informed consent.

4.4.         Accordingly, subsequent use of research products containing mātauranga Māori will be contingent upon the Polytechnic acquiring consent from the research collaborator.

5.          Sharing of Mātauranga Māori

5.1.         Otago Polytechnic Limited acknowledges that mātauranga Māori is a significant component of New Zealand’s heritage, and that sharing mātauranga Māori facilitates inter-cultural dialogue and understanding that is in the national interest.

5.2.         However, the Polytechnic recognises that the originating Māori community and/or individual has the primary interest as kaitiaki over the mātauranga and the Polytechnic is therefore committed to ensuring that the sharing, promotion and innovation based on mātauranga Māori respects and enhances its cultural and spiritual integrity, as well as that of the originating community and/or individual.

6.          Commercialisation of Mātauranga Māori

6.1.         Mātauranga Māori is also recognised for its innovative potential and commercial value.

6.2.         However, the Polytechnic accepts that commercialisation of mātauranga Māori remains subject to the principles and obligations of kaitaikitanga.

6.3.         Accordingly, the Polytechnic will not commercialise intellectual property that incorporates mātauranga Māori, or elements thereof, without:

a.              Seeking the consent of the originating community and/or individual;

b.              Reaching agreement with the originating community and/or individual on protocols for the use and development of the mātauranga Māori sufficient to preserve and/or enhance the integrity of both the mātauranga and originating entity; and

c.              Reaching agreement with the originating community and/or individual on a fair and equitable benefit-sharing regime, which recognises the contributions and value of the respective contributors.



  • Intellectual Property