The author of a compendium on Maori Customary Law says past changes to its concepts have been driven by government departments who have wanted to use them.
Waikato University's Professor Alex Frame helped compile and edit the book, to be launched on Friday.
It sets out the terms of concepts of Maori law as they were recorded in traditional Maori accounts and historical records, as well as how they have been modified by the legal system.
Dr Frame says researchers looked at concepts over the years, and that it is interesting to see how they have changed and been adapted.
It has sometimes happened because a government department wants to make use of a Maori concept and employs it in a sense that it is new, he says.