8 January 2020: Read the NZCA's advice to Ministers on the issue of maintaining provenance in the international system of Genome Sequencing.

To: Hon Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation; and, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development
Date:  8 January 2020

At the Authority’s meeting in October 2019, Māui Hudson, Associate Professor at the University of Waikato, presented on his work with genomic research and Mātauranga Māori.

The presentation prompted discussion as to the future of genomics in conservation, and considerations that must be taken in the pursuit of this type of research. An issue was raised around how one maintains the provenance and recognises the origin of data as it moves through international systems, and the potential impact this could have on iwi and Crown relationships. Great consideration will need to be taken to protect the interests of Māori in this work.

Currently, New Zealand does not have resources to conduct genome sequencing in the country; all sequencing of New Zealand species takes place internationally. At the Authority’s December 2019 meeting, Hon Eugenie Sage similarly expressed her concerns as to how this may affect Wai262 interests, and the wider implications for Treaty partners.

In order to carry out our guardianship role, to safeguard iwi and Crown relationships, and to respect Māori taonga, we are advocating for increased resources to enable genome sequencing to take place in New Zealand. This will allow some protection for Māori data sovereignty.

No reira
E noho ora mai

Edward Ellison ONZM
Chairperson NZCA

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