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Waitangi Day 2017

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, February 6th, 2017 - 19 comments
Categories: history, leadership, Maori Issues - Tags: ,

Well the lead-up to Waitangi Day this year has certainly had its fair share of drama! Our national day is clearly still a work in progress. But let’s hope that day itself goes smoothly for all those attending.

You can read Andrew Little’s thoughts on the day here:

Andrew Little: Waitangi a day for all of us to come together

Because the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi marks the beginning of unified, nationwide government in New Zealand, the head of our government, the Prime Minister, should be there. He should be representing the Government and all New Zealanders on our national day at the place of our nation’s birth.

By not fronting up at Waitangi, Mr English is failing an important leadership responsibility.

In a darkening world, the example we set, as a country, matters.

The places that used to light the world with their progressive thinking – their lights shine more dimly now.

We must never loosen our hold on what makes us who we are: a country that sets the standard for cooperation, for tolerance, for government that governs with compassion. We can show there’s a better path than isolation and bigotry.

For the last 40 years, our nation has embarked on the difficult journey of understanding some of the darker moments of our past, and reconciling ourselves to it. We have made good progress and there is more to do.

If we are truly to line up to the promise that the union of two peoples under the Treaty set us, we need a government that creates opportunity; that ensures our freedom; that lets us all have a fair share. A government prepared to play its part.

We can build a better New Zealand. But only if we build it together and include everyone.

For me, that is what Waitangi Day is all about.

In 2014 our own mickysavage wrote an interesting poston Waitangi day. I (r0b) think the reflections on the meaning of the Treaty bear repeating:

Much has been written about the Treaty of Waitangi and the treachery of the Crown but I will try again to very briefly set out my understanding of what happened to show why I believe Maori have a right to feel aggrieved at their treatment. To any wing nut out there feel free to point out what you believe are my misunderstandings so that we can have a proper debate about the issue.

The treaty was part enlightenment and part reflection of the reality of the time. In 1840 Pakeha was heavily outnumbered by Maori in Aotearoa. Statistics New Zealand estimate that at the time there were no more than 2,050 Pakeha compared to 80,000 Maori in New Zealand. The Pakeha that were present were mainly traders and had no long term commitment to the place. But there were those interested in setting up colonies such as the Wakefield brothers who through the New Zealand Company had started to transport immigrants and promise landholdings in areas where they did not own land. And the French were coming.

The English wanted to control the colonisation of New Zealand and keep it to themselves. A treaty, any treaty with Iwi was vital. Captain William Hobson was sent to New Zealand with instructions to annex part of the land and place it under English rule. He was specifically instructed to sign a treaty with local Maori.

The treaty itself was drafted by the Missionary Henry Williams on February 4, 1840. The document was in Maori and English. The basic problem that has continued to cause so much controversy was the use of words with different meanings in each draft.

For instance in Article 1 the English version ceded sovereignty of New Zealand to the Crown. But in the Maori version the word “kawanatanga” was used. This has been translated to mean “governance” which is clearly not the same as “sovereignty”. And in Article 2 the English version guaranteed “undisturbed possession” of all their “properties”, but the Maori version guaranteed “tino rangatiratanga” (full authority) over “taonga” (treasures, which may be intangible).

The core problem is that the Maori version was signed by the parties. The fact that there was an English translation, clearly an incorrect one, should not affect the interpretation. The Maori version has to be given preference.

So Maori retained Tino Rangatiratanga of New Zealand and preserved full authority over its Taonga. Subsequent acts of confiscation were clearly in breach of this.

In a civilized society this should be acknowledged and the Treaty should be given full force. The Treaty settlements have been for extremely modest amounts given the size of the loss Maori have suffered. On Waitangi day this should be reflected on and respected.

19 comments on “Waitangi Day 2017 ”

  1. Sacha 1

    Some better-informed reflections on the place of the Treaty in this nation than Brash et al will ever muster: http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/waitangi-day-protest-is-better-than-a-propaganda-holiday

    • Sacha 1.1

      When I think about what this post today could contain, it’s disappointing to have to spend energy resisting derails from modern racists like the ‘hobson’s pledge’ crowd.

  2. Many things are mocked, and many say things would be laughed out of court. However I would hazard a guess that not very many people have even heard of the Littlewood Treaty – let alone read it.

    Its also interesting that those who would side with the accepted status quo are usually the first to jeer and knock the ACT party and reserve even more vehement rejection of globalist neo liberalism – which is exactly what the ‘ Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi ‘ was all about – ripping off the NZ public by using sleight of hand pseudo legalistic jargon introduced by Geoffrey Palmer.

    Remember that the next time you bother to post and rail against ACT and the National party and their neo liberalism.

    As for me? … I believe that many on the Left are as bad as the Right in their dogmatism and hypocrisy.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      In reality (the kind the courts pay attention to) te Tiriti forms the basis of an ongoing relationship between Māori and the Crown.

      That being so, it is entirely appropriate to acknowledge it in legislative form.

      Just as the National Party changed some laws in anticipation of the TPP. Or the UDoHR: the courts take its principles into account when ruling on human rights matters.

      This is pretty basic stuff, whatever Don Brash reckons. You can call it dogma all you like: that’s why we have judges.

    • Carolyn_nth 2.2

      Being against neoliberalism and a form of globalisation dominated by corporate and financial elites, does not mean that all of us lefties reject international law. International law is extremely important when it comes to claims of borders, and sovereignty.

      Green Party on international law.

      The international legal doctrine of contra preferentum means indigenous language versions of treaties between indigenous peoples and colonising powers are the ones that must be adhered to where there is disagreement. Added to this, both Governor Hobson and most of the Maori chiefs signed the Maori language version.

    • xanthe 2.3

      “which is exactly what the ‘ Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi ‘ was all about – ripping off the NZ public by using sleight of hand pseudo legalistic jargon ”

      I agree ! transferable corporate ownership of communal heritage never was intended by either language version of Te Tirity. this latest NEW interpretation is just one more sellout of EVERYONES heritage by ariki.

      but some ariki do still serve their people.
      http://maorilawreview.co.nz/2014/10/tuhoe-crown-settlement-te-urewera-act-2014/

      now thats visionary! stewardship!

      and there is always hope!

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11795278

  3. Chess Player 3

    I agree Bill English should have attended on behalf of the NZ public as a whole, however Little has done himself no favours at all by showing up with millionaire shock-jock and gang-rape apologist Willie Jackson.

    • mlpc 3.1

      I suspect that the NZ public as a whole think that it is a good idea for the PM to attend Waitangi Day events in a different part of the country each year.

      The events at Orakei Marae seem to have been celebratory and respectful.

      Next year in Rotorua?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Why would Prime Minister Andrew Little change the venue next year?

        • mlpc 3.1.1.1

          Because, if he does become PM, he will receive the message from all the iwi, other than Ngapuhi, that the day belongs to them, too.
          Just ask Ngati whatua.

      • mauī 3.1.2

        Yep, that’s a good way to deny and avoid.

        • mlpc 3.1.2.1

          Why?

          Dozens of iwi signed the Treaty, not only Ngapuhi.

          Granted, a large group of them did sign at Waitangi, but it’s long hikoi to get there for many Maori, even nowadays.

          • mauī 3.1.2.1.1

            Why, because lots of other tribes signed the treaty at a later date, i.e not on the 6th February. Why would you celebrate Waitangi Day in Rotorua when the 6th of Feb doesn’t reference the date local iwi signed on?

            Also National aren’t doing this to better relations with iwi across the country. They’re doing it to avoid political flack.

      • Carolyn_nth 3.1.3

        I don’t see it either Waitangi or Ōrākei or somewhere else.

        Waitangi has a specific historical meaning, and so it should have a major focus. It’s great we’re getting more events elsewhere as well. We aren’t all able to go to Waitangi on the 6th. So it’s great to have events elsewhere.

        I went to the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei event last year at Bastion Point.

        Did a blog post about it here:

        It seemed more overtly political than the event today – I also went to it at Okahu Bay, near to Bastion Point.

        The weather is better than last year. Actually it was too hot for me. But some great sounds to chill to. The MC said the Marae used to be in front of today’s stage area.

        What a place it must have been back then, pre-European. Such a beautiful bay and area – tried to imagine it with more dense vegetation way back then.

    • infused 3.2

      You misunderstand the public sentiment. Most think this day is a joke.

      Spreading it around will indeed help the cause.

  4. Chris 4

    Ironic Bennett leads the prayer at Waitangi when all she’s ever done in every portfolio she’s had is fuck Maori over.

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