7 Dec 2011

Vanuatu traditional knowledge law could lead to action against bungy operators

2:37 pm on 7 December 2011

Vanuatu's Justice Minister says he can't yet say whether a planned bill on traditional knowledge and cultural expression will seek compensation from bungy jumping operators around the world.

Bungy jumping is widely assumed to have been inspired by the traditional Nagol or land divers on southern Pentecost.

Ralph Regenvanu says the legislation is being finalised after 13 years of effort and should be tabled by the middle of next year.

It aims to stop the illegal exploitation of Vanuatu culture.

Mr Regenvanu says it's too early to say if this means seeking redress from the likes of the New Zealand originator of bungy, A J Hackett.

"I know that according to conventional Western law there is isn't really a case to be put against AJ Hackett and the whole bungy jumping thing, because it was an idea that was taken and the bungy jumping is very different from what it's inspired by, and you can't have proprietary rights over ideas. So in that sense perhaps, there isn't a case, but of course we would be interested to see what the traditional owners are able to articulate."

Ralph Regenvanu.