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Biopiracy threat as Multinational Giants Pitch GM to Maori

Biopiracy threat as Multinational Giants Pitch GM to Maori Businesses

Press Release: Tuesday 28th August 2012, 2.30pm.

Te Waka Kai Ora (National Māori Organics Authority Aotearoa)

For immediate release

The upcoming conference titled “Adapting to a Changing World” run by GE multinationals Monsanto and DuPont has sparked intense debate throughout Aotearoa and Māori communities. Te Waka Kai Ora (the National Māori Organics Authority Aotearoa) takes a strong stand against Genetic Modification and the insidious campaigns by such multinationals to push their agenda on indigenous communities. Te Waka Kai Ora act as the facilitators for Hua Parakore maara kai (pure food growing), using a tikanga based verification system which encourages the use of GE-free, nano-free, pesticide and chemical-free production methods, while enhancing their whanau and community aspirations.

Te Waka Kai Ora is clear that that GM is as serious threat to the health and integrity our whenua, our tikanga and the lives of our mokopuna, and is angered at the Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) for accepting platinum sponsorship to the conference. Dr Jessica Hutchings, from Ngai Tahu, a TWKO Hua Parakore grower, and lecturer in Environmental Studies at Victoria University says “it is alarming that FOMA are introducing the multinational GM giants to Māori communities and businesses. These corporations haven’t got past the use of pesticides or herbicides and have damaging environmental records in other countries. GM is an outdated technology, it is not a pathway towards sustainable agriculture or food security and many Māori communities, Hua Parakore farmers, and whānau have strongly opposed the use of this technology in food and on the whenua (land).”

Another serious concern is that these ideas are being pitched to Māori growers under the guise of financial benefit, and Māori are not being given the full story about the total ramifications of introducing GM and its impacts on the whakapapa and genetic make-up of our food.

Dr Hutchings says that, “GM is about profit and is bound up in the western intellectual property regime that misappropriates Māori and other indigenous cultural and intellectual property. Allowing these global GM giants an opportunity to pitch their unsafe, unsustainable and profit-driven technologies to Māori is immoral. FOMA should be looking towards introducing Māori businesses and communities to safer and more acceptable greener technologies that do not put people, the environment or our tikanga at risk”. Te Waka Kai Ora will continue to oppose all forms of Genetic Modification in our food system and the environment, and urges FOMA and Māori growers to act as kaitiaki and protect our seed and whenua for future generations by rejecting these damaging technologies.


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