17 May 2024

How laws prohibiting the trade of endangered species are impacting indigenous art

From Nine To Noon, 9:30 am on 17 May 2024

Kiwi Fulbright scholar Bonita Bigham is researching how laws to prevent trade in endangered species are impacting indigenous art. 

Since the mid-2000s, the Department of Conservation has collaborated with coastal iwi to recognise Māori customary rights, however amendments to the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, to provide for whale recovery tikanga, are yet to be made.

Taranaki regional councillor and Fulbright scholar Bonita Bigham (Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa) is researching how such laws and conventions - designed to prevent trade of endangered species - have had unintended consequences for indigenous people and practices.

In particular, her PhD will focus on how these laws impinge on indigenous retrieval and use of marine mammal resources for artists, in Aotearoa and Hawai'i.

Bonita joins Kathryn from Hawai'i where in addition to her studies, is also co-leading the Aotearoa New Zealand delegation for the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture due to take place there next month. 

Fulbright scholar Bonita Bigham.

Fulbright scholar Bonita Bigham. Photo: Supplied