Environmental Values 28 (1):9-30 (2019)

Christine J. Winter
University of Sydney
The idea of dignity is often taken to be a foundation for principles of justice and democracy. In the West it has numerous formulations and conceptualisations. Within the capabilities approach to justice theorists have expanded the concept of dignity to encompass animals and ecological communities. In this article I rework the idea of dignity to include the Māori philosophical concepts of Mauri, tapu and mana – something I argue is necessary if the capabilities approach is to decolonise in the Aotearoa context. Furthermore, the article links the nation’s recognition of three extensive geographical regions – Te Awa Tupua, Te Urewera and Mt Taranaki – as legal persons to Mātauranga Māori and nonhuman dignity. In doing so, I identify the potential that this understanding of dignity and these legal moves have to decolonise democracy within the settler state.
Keywords Aotearoa, capabilities approach, decolonisation, democracy, Māori, settler state, intergenerational justice
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DOI 10.3197/096327119x15445433913550
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