Oral Presentation Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law and New Zealand Bioethics Conference

Kaitiakitanga - relationships and responsibilities (1194)

Krushil Watene 1
  1. College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Western civilisation has been built on the primacy of property ownership, individual rights, and on the notion of the environment as a resource without limit. We know that these pillars fail us under the weight of our contemporary realities. The impacts are so far-reaching that people the world over are searching for stronger foundations to take us into the future. At the heart of the sustainable development agenda is a concern for future generations. Development is framed as that which ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ and which works toward ‘building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet’. In what ways do indigenous communities provide some useful ways of grounding these future-oriented and sustainable concerns. Drawing on Māori narratives, I outline a number of insights for our relationships with and our responsibilities to past and future generations. In so doing, I begin to articulate an approach to intergenerational obligations embedded in the idea of Kaitiakitanga, and in a way that demonstrate some of the contributions of indigenous (and particularly Māori) concepts to our ideas about justice.