Waitangi Tribunal Claim for the Atmosphere
1.  Below is the abridged text of a claim submitted to the Waitangi Tribunal 8 December, 2000. Updates on progress are shown here.

2.  How important is this claim?
Some basic facts:
Human life may be sustained for weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without air. Land is generally regarded as fundamental to human survival but without the atmosphere it is barren and uninhabitable. The current global concern with atmospheric degradation and climate change further underlines its importance. It is too valuable a resource to be left to Pakeha government to control, exploit or pollute.

The implications of this submission are potentially more important than any other resource claim. Ranging from control and management of air space (including air-water resources) to construction projects at and above ground-sea level, etc. In fact, any activity conducted in the atmosphere above ground-sea level is affected.
Although land provides a platform for human habitation it is clear
that most, if not all, human activity takes place in the atmosphere. To understand how vital it is to survival, imagine what life would be like without it. Earth's Moon is a constant daily reminder of that prospect.

The atmosphere is also permeated by various energy fields including the zero-point field. This means that the "sale" of the electro-magnetic spectrum by Pakeha government will need to be revisited at some future date. Maori have greater entitlement to ownership and management of EM and other energy fields in Aotearoa NZ than has been acknowledged so far.

Of particular concern to government will be the implications regarding its participation in the Echelon spy network, with stations at Waihopai and Tangimoana.

I, JOHN WINIATA TAKITIMU PORTER, Indigenous Weather Modification consultant, and member of Rongowhakaata, Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngati Porou Iwi.

For myself and the members of Rongowhakaata Iwi, and for all other Iwi in Aotearoa New Zealand on whose behalf this claim is made.


1. Claim that we have been, and are likely to be prejudicially affected

(a) by the ordinances and Acts referred to in Appendix A
(b) by the regulations, orders, proclamations, notices and other statutory instruments recorded in Appendix B
(c) by the policies or practices (whether or not still in force) adopted by or on behalf of the Crown or proposed to be adopted by or on behalf of the Crown recorded in Appendix C
(d) by the acts done or omitted or proposed to be done or omitted by or on behalf of the Crown recorded in Appendix D

and that such ordinances, Acts, regulations, orders, proclamations, notices, statutory instruments, policies and practices, acts and omissions were and are contrary to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and that appropriate relief by way of statutory and other amendment, change of policies and practices as proposed in such appendices and compensation or otherwise should be awarded.

2.  That in the geographic area traditionally possessed by the abovenamed claimant iwi and referred to as Aotearoa New Zealand, we claim that we are entitled to recognition and enforcement of our customary rights to the Atmosphere and its resources and for compensation or other relief in respect of the breach of those rights.

2 (a). That we make claim for total ownership, management and control of the Atmosphere and its resources within the geographic area described in paragraph 2.

3. That the geographic area described in paragraph 2 and the activities performed or able to be performed within or in respect of it by way of legislation regulations and Crown policy practice acts and omissions require to be examined within the perspective of the Treaty of Waitangi, to be altered as a result of past and continuing failure to comply with it; and that compensation be provided in respect of such failures of compliance as are not now capable of rectification.

4.  That exclusive title to and possession and use of the Atmosphere and its resources in the area described in paragraph 2 are and should be recognized as among our taonga and given effect by legislation and administrative arrangements; and that since they have not been given effect in the past and to the extent that they cannot be given effect for the future that we should receive appropriate compensation.

5.  That existing and past legislation, policies, practices, acts and omissions on behalf of the Crown in relation to the Atmosphere and its resources has failed to comply with and should be examined and reviewed in accordance with the principles of the Treaty; that the detriment caused to us and our Tupuna be reviewed; that appropriate legislation and policies be adopted and that compensation or other relief for past and present breaches be provided.

6.  The Crown, in breach of principles of the Treaty of Waitangi
(a) has omitted or refused

(i) to investigate the scope, nature and extent of our rights to and possession and use of the
Atmosphere and its resources; and/or
(ii) to record and maintain the record of the results of any such investigation; and/or
(ii) to establish and maintain systems for protecting and enforcing such rights.

(b) has embarked on and implemented legislation, policies, practices, acts and omissions calculated to interfere with such rights; and as a result we are likely to be prejudiced.

14. That the existing structure of administration, legislation and institutions including the statutes referred to in Appendix A be reviewed to determine the extent to which they fail to comply with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and that they be appropriately amended to take its principles and values into account and in order to bring Maori values into account in New Zealand life.

15.  That there be an enquiry as to the extent to which and the circumstances in which our original Atmospheric rights and taonga passed into other and particularly Crown hands; for restoration of such rights to us and for compensation for the deficiency and for past exclusion from the area of difference.

16.  We claim compensation in respect of the disruption of all Iwi; the social dislocation which has occurred as a consequence of legislation and Government policies; and for the taking of measures dealing with the social issues of unemployment and loss of Mana; and for compensation by way of policies, practices and funding appropriate to restore the Mana of all Iwi; the education and training of all Iwi members.

The Atmosphere is comprised of two essential attributes (a) space or air space and (b) physical and non-physical resources that exist within that space.
All Crown legislation, policies or practices, acts or omissions relating to ownership, management and
regulation of the Atmosphere and its resources come within the scope of this claim.
 1.  May 11, 2001 -- registered as Wai 909, the Atmosphere of Aotearoa New Zealand claim.

2.   May 04, 2006  -- Maori Party MPs letter on Treaty settlements.


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Last modified: 17 May 2006