Erin Matariki Carr – The Resurgence of Māori Law: The Constitutional Transformation Movement in Aotearoa NZ

Erin Matariki Carr is from the Māori tribal nations of Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa, and lives in Tāneatua in the east of the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Matariki is a member of RIVER and a lawyer working within the inter-generational movement of Māori resistance that is now surging towards constitutional transformation in honour of the treaty Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 between the British Crown and sovereign hapū Māori. An important story in this movement has been the granting of legal personality to Te Urewera rainforest, the homelands of Ngāi Tūhoe. Here, Tūhoe aims to “disrupt the false notion of human superiority over the land” by removing human ownership and management, and providing a new kawa (or law) that starts with “human management for the benefit of the land”. 

This talk was delivered at the 2023 Bioneers Conference.

Erin Matariki Carr, of Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa descent, lives in her traditional homelands in Aotearoa/New Zealand and works in law and policy, with a focus on the interface between Indigenous and Western legal systems and methodologies. She previously worked as Manager of Planning & Design to create and implement policies under the world-first legislation conferring legal personhood to the Te Urewera rainforest. Matariki is currently a project lead at RIVER, where she focuses on the constitutional transformation movement in Aotearoa with a number of other teams, including Tūmanako Consultants and Te Kuaka NZA.


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