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‘Xenotransplantation’ Treated With Concern


‘Xenotransplantation’ Treated With Concern By Tangata Whenua

Tariana Turia, Co-Leader, Maori Party

The invitation to public consultation about ‘Animal to Human Transplants’ by the Bioethics Council is greeted with significant concern from tangata whenua, Co-leader of the Maori Party, Tariana Turia said today.

Throughout 2001, when consultation with tangata whenua was held throughout New Zealand in the context of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, the interchange of genes across species was roundly condemned at every hui.

I recall the wisdom of Muaupoko kaumatua, James Okeroa Broughton, at the first hui held in Whanganui, said Mrs Turia.

She recalled his advice being that although we are all related and linked to each other through Ranginui and Papatuanuku, each species has their own mauri which must stay with their own species.

In his oral submission, Mr Broughton had stated that:

“In our culture, the mixing of the life force of one species with another by human beings is not tika and will adversely affect us all” [Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, Maori Consultation Report, Appendix three, p154].

The Bioethnics Council in their invitation to establish ‘dialogue’ on the cultural, ethical and social aspects of animal-to-human transpants must bear in mind the very significant call from tangata whenua for effective control of genetic modification, genetic modification processes and experiments.

“Tangata whenua are always conscious of their responsibility to protect the legacy of their own future generations (whakapapa)”, said Mrs Turia. “It is considered highly offensive to upset the whakapapa, mana, mauri and wairua of our world, through the mixing of genes between humans and other species”.

“Through our eyes, when the balanced cycle is interfered with through genetic manipulation, whether it be intentional or accidental, it will ultimately cause an imbalance, and in doing so, the link between our tikanga and the natural world will be affected”.

Mrs Turia noted that in the 200 submissions received by the Royal Commission from Maori, 64% had argued that genetic modification was unacceptable because it contradicted Maori custom and philosophy.

“If the Bioethics Council is serious about obtaining Maori knowledge and opinions, it must fund a parallel process which seeks tangata whenua input sourced from kaupapa Maori processes and contexts immediately”.


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