n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Enshrining indigenous knowledge as a public good : indigenous education and the Maori sense of place

Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



Whether to pursue international legal measures to extend intellectual property rights to cover indigenous knowledge or to treat it as a public good is the subject of debate. This paper makes the case that investing indigenous knowledge as a public good is an ethical position compatible with the idea that indigenous and traditional knowledge represents community property, is holistic and is passed on through generations in a cultural context. International property rights have proved to be ineffective in protecting indigenous peoples or their knowledge. In an effort to reverse this trend, we propose a national education plan in New Zealand, not only to incorporate indigenous knowledge into the curriculum, but also to integrate the cultural importance of whanau into school practices. Whanau, the Maori sense of place, is the equivalent of the ultimate Maori public good and represents an enviro-identity more complex than family structure. In order to realize the perspective of place, the school system requires the inclusion of indigenous education into a learning model that seeks to foster the recognition that we are all bound to place and dependent upon local ecosystems.

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