The deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana says an indigenous perspective could offer a way out of the bitter battles over whaling.
Waatea News reports that Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu addressed the World Whaling Commission meeting in Portugal on Thursday, a rare honour for a non-government representative.
The commission has been divided by Japan's demands for whale hunting to continue under what it calls its scientific whaling programme, or, in the case of its coastal waters, under its tradition.
Mr Tomoana says Te Ohu Kaimoana supports indigenous and coastal whaling peoples throughout the world to continue their traditional and cultural practices of hunting whales for food.
He says that offers a middle way as indigenous peoples have never devastated whaling stocks.
Ngahiwi Tomoana says if Japan was allowed to whale in its own coastal waters, the pressure could come off southern ocean whale populations.