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The recognition of Maori rights under the common law
The recognition of a 'modified dominion' of the Maori in R v Symonds (1847) NZPCC 387 was later pared back and at one time rejected entirely. More recently, the Court of Appeal reaffirmed the place of Aboriginal title in the common law of Aotearoa/New Zealand. (Te Runanganui o Te Ika Whenua Inc Society v Attorney General [1994] 2 NZLR 20) The New Zealand Courts have also recognised that Aboriginal rights such as customary fishing rights can be separated from title over lands, similar to the distinction in Canada. That is, rights can be non-exclusive rights to fish that do not depend on establishing ownership. (Te Weehi v Regional Fisheries Office (1986) 1 NZLR 682)

Keywords: indigenous people, International Court Case, International law, Maori, New Zealand (Aotearoa), New Zealand Native Title cases, R v Symonds (1847), sea rights, Te Weehi v Regional Fisheries Office (1986), 1847-1994

Author: Strelein, Lisa