Encyclopedia > Taonga

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Taonga is the Maori word for a treasured thing, whether tangible or intangible. Tangible examples are all sorts of heirlooms and artifacts, land and fisheries. Intangible examples include language, radio frequencies and riparian rights.

The word has constitutional significance in New Zealand, as article two of the Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed that the Maori signatories would retain the possession and enjoyment of their taonga under British rule. This has created an incentive for such things as radio frequencies, which would have been unknown to the ancient Maori, to be classified as taonga so that they may be claimed under this provision of the treaty.

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