Linda Te Aho

Linda Te Aho

Associate Professor Linda Te Ah

Indigenous Laws and Values for Resilient Rivers

This presentation will discuss how indigenous laws and values can play an integral role in creating the paradigm shift required universally to transition from irresponsible exploitation of the earth, to an approach of stewardship. Law is a key to this transition.

Responsible governance of the biosphere and the global commons requires new directions in law. These include a range of legal instruments, including strengthening liability for damage to the earth, and in a more innovative move, giving stature and legal standing to earth’s common goods. It requires reactivation of traditions of duty in law, and stronger provisions for public good interests.

The presenter is a Māori legal expert who will draw on key aspects of innovations in law in New Zealand, and from the ideas presented in the recently published a book Betsan Martin, Linda Te Aho and Maria Humphries, ‘Responsability: Law and Governance for Living Well with the Earth’.  Topics for discussion include an expanded application of public trusteeship of nature, and the innovation of legal personhood for nature, which was introduced into New Zealand law in 2017, when the Whanganui River was recognized as an ancestor and vested as a legal person. This framework of legal personhood has also been implemented in India, Bolivia and Ecuador. 

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