The Alexander Turnbull Library is a part of the National Library of New Zealand, and holds the world’s most extensive collection of documentary taonga Maori. Taonga is the term used to describe material deemed by New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori, to be of significant cultural and spiritual value.
The Tribunal that considers Treaty claims in New Zealand recently released its findings relating to the ownership of traditional Maori knowledge held within the Library. While supporting the Library’s continued ownership of this material and philosophy of open access, the Tribunal recommended mechanisms to guard against inappropriate use and commercial exploitation.
The presentation describes the Turnbull Library’s approach to facilitating access to indigenous Maori knowledge through archival/bibliographic descriptive practices and discovery tools, collaborative tribal agreements, specialist positions and digital initiatives. The presenters will also touch upon the relationship between our professional roles and that as members of our respective tribal communities.