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Executive Summary

The protection of the traditional cultural expressions of indigenous people from inappropriate use raises issues relating to the differences between standard intellectual property concepts and the “worldview” of such groups. In New Zealand, Māori claims regarding rights to “guardianship” of their cultural knowledge have been expressed in the context of the guarantees in the Treaty of Waitangi. Some recognition of these interests can be seen in amendments to intellectual property laws. However, there remain questions regarding the protection of expressions of culture that are considered in the public domain, and that are used commercially and non-commercially in both the domestic and international settings.

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Last Updated: 02/28/2014