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Flavell: Geographical Indications Bill

Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Bill
Third Reading; Te Ururoa Flavell
Tuesday 14 November 2006

In doing the research for this Bill, I was looking within the customary rohe of Ngati Te Whatuiapiti, and Ngati Te Upokoiri, regarding the Ngatarawa blocks. Ngatarawa borders the ancient river beds of Ngaruroro on the western edge of the Heretaunga Plains. This is Kahungunu territory; Kahungunu turf.

The blocks form the subject of claim 596, taken to the Waitangi Tribunal by Irimana Heemi Totoru Matenga. A claim which suggests there are irregularities in the passage of these blocks through the Native Land Court.

But the Ngatarawa name is probably most strongly associated with the stories connected to a good wine.

Indeed, as the Ngatarawa label professes, “lifetimes told in wine”.

With the inevitable passing of this Bill, the name Ngatarawa may now ‘indicate’ that a particular wine from this region will be of high quality because of the fact of its geographical origin.

The geographical indication of Ngatarawa will be an advantage in marketing the wine or spirit.

That would be a great achievement for one of New Zealand’s finest wine-making dynasties, the Corban family. Descending from a family who left Lebanon in 1891 equipped with over 300 years of winemaking traditions, the Corban family grape-growing business has crafted a respected boutique wine company over the last 105 years of viticulture.

The Ngatarawa label thus resonates with the presence of a distinctive fourth generation pedigree.

The location specific “naming rights”, which the TRIPS agreement classifies as a category of intellectual property would identify most likely Ngatarawa as a label founded on heritage, on the taste of a ‘classic’ wine for a discerning wine-tasting public.

The concept of pedigree is, however, also useful to review in the context of other developments which relate to ownership and protection of intellectual property.
One wonders when in early September the Waitangi Tribunal appeared at Waipatu Marae in Hastings to hear the Ngati Kahungunu submission on WAI 262, whether the pedigree of Ngatarawa informed the discussions.

Wai 262 is a claim to rights in respect of mātauranga Māori or Māori knowledge, and indigenous flora and fauna. In the hearings at Waipatu, the Tribunal heard about the call to actively protect the exercise by Ngati Kahungunu of tino rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga in regard to Ngati Kahungunu cultural knowledge.

Cultural knowledge of names and locations such as Ngatarawa – or indeed Te Mata, or Awatere or Kaituna.

My colleague, Dr Pita Sharples, of Ngati Kahungunu, tells me that names are very important in Kahungunu territory – with Ngati Kere’s proud reputation for the longest place name in the world: Taumata-whakatangihanga-kōauau-a-Tamatea-pōkai-whenua-ki-tāna-tahu

The statement of claim suggests that the Government has breached its obligations and failed to protect Ngati Kahungunu cultural knowledge by adopting international instruments without either consulting or obtaining permission from Ngati Kahungunu.

Mr Speaker, the debate on this Bill has made frequent reference to the WTOs Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (known as the TRIPS agreement). The Bill has been justified as necessary to more closely align ‘geographical indications’ with the rights and obligations under the TRIPS agreement.

And yet, the explanatory note to the Bill acknowledges that “there has been no strong interest on the part of New Zealand producers to register geographical indications”.

It would seem then that the impetus for this government Bill is to merely be TRIPS compliant, not because producers see a need for it.

And this is despite the government, and governments overseas, being advised, repeatedly, that TRIPS is unworkable, undesirable and not in the national interest. The key block is tied up in the very intention of intellectual property rights legislation - which is to harmonise such laws globally.

In doing so, the global intervention reduces the capacity of nation-states to develop higher standards. The view put forward by indigenous peoples around the world is that ultimately, local and indigenous communities should be able to rely on domestic law, and look to global forums only when it takes standards to a higher level or is strongly in the national interest.

That is what the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does – takes the standard to a higher level. Article 29 states: Indigenous peoples are entitled to the recognition of the full ownership, control, and protection of the cultural and intellectual property.

TRIPS does not take the debate to a higher level. It is not necessary, it ignores Maori rights and interests, indeed my research indicates it is a waste of resources and time.

The Maori Party has stood in this House and made the point that we will always oppose international agreements which are signed without due consultation with tangata whenua.

We will also oppose international agreements that have no capacity or will to protect Maori rights and interests.

So when we went back to the people of Ngati Poporo, of Ngati Kahungunu, they confirmed that either unwittingly or unknowingly tupuna names of Kahungunu were being liberally sprinkled around the vineyards of the Hawkes Bay.

The debate at the committee stage of this Bill heaped praise on our entrepreneurial viticultarists; the long term strategic interests of the nation’s economy which the Geographical Indications work recognises.

But where is the value if in implementing the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights we trample over the histories and traditions of tangata whenua to get there?

How is the tino rangatiratanga of hapu and iwi in relation to their own cultural heritage rights and taonga protected through this Bill for the people of Ngati Kahungunu, for Ngati Koata, the peoples of Turanganui-a-kiwa?

Part of the discussions emerging from WAI 262 has been that protocols should be developed for dealing with persons outside the collective wishing to gain access to knowledge and taonga;· include sanctions and penalties for infringement.

Mr Speaker, the Maori Party applauds the initiative of the Lebanese cousins, Alwyn and Brian Corban, who have contributed so significantly to the winemaking enterprise of Aotearoa.

We also congratulate the initiative of the Yugoslavian descendants of Ivan Yukich, Mate and Frank, who have established the legacy of Montana Wines Limited.

We see both with the Corban Clan and the Montana pioneers the international history of viticulture being successfully transplanted to Aotearoa.

And in doing so, we fully support the purpose of this Bill being to “contribute to the development and continual growth of, and innovation in, the wine and spirits industries in New Zealand by providing a suitable legal framework for the registration of geographical indications”.

But the crux of the issue for us, the Maori Party, will always be about how such enterprises can succeed and also enable the ownership, control, and protection of their cultural and intellectual property to be in the hands of tangata whenua.

Another couple of international winemakers, American Brianne and Gary Fisher, recently established their vineyard, bound in the heart of the Ngatarawa Triangle. They have chosen to name their vineyard Paritua, in their words “as a tribute to the Paritua Stream which meanders gently through our land; a name that also acknowledges their connection with the land and the people of New Zealand”.

Not far from there, is Te Mata Estate Vineyard, the oldest winery in Aotearoa. Te Mata of course, is also etched in the tribal landscape as the body of Kahungunu rangatira, Te Mata O Rongokako.

Mr Speaker, tangata whenua take seriously the obligations as tangata kaitiaki to exercise tino rangatiratanga over their cultural knowledge, their matauranga; their indigenous flora and fauna.

It is the submission of the Wai 262 claimants, that Government should await the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal on how solutions to the vexed issues of intellectual and cultural property can be arrived at.

The Maori Party can not support the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Bill while these discussions are still very much active.

As the Ngati Kahungunu submission asked the Tribunal, we also ask the House:
- To what extent does the Crown have an obligation to protect Matauranga Maori / cultural knowledge?
- To what extent has the Crown breached any obligation it may have, including adopting international instruments?


Until these questions – and many more which would arise from consultation with tangata whenua – are able to be heard and a full response accorded them, tangata whenua will be denied the exercise of the right to develop on our own terms. And to this, we can never agree.


ENDS

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