The English version states the British intentions were to protect Māori interests from the encroaching British settlement, provide for British settlement and establish a government to maintain peace and order.
The Māori text suggests that the Queen’s main promises to Māori were to provide a government while securing tribal rangatiratanga (chiefly autonomy or authority over their own area) and Māori land ownership for as long as they wished to retain it.
In the English text, Māori leaders gave the Queen ‘all the rights and powers of sovereignty’ over their land. In the Māori text, Māori leaders gave the Queen ‘te kawanatanga katoa’ or the complete government over their land.
The word ‘sovereignty’ had no direct translation in Māori. Chiefs had authority over their own areas, but there was no central ruler over the country. The translators of the English text used the Māori word ‘kawanatanga’, a transliteration of the word ‘governance’, which was in current use. Māori knew this word from the Bible and from the ‘kawana’ or governor of New South Wales. Māori believe that they kept their authority to manage their own affairs and ceded a right of governance to the Queen in return for the promise of protection.
It is widely accepted that the use of the words ‘kawanatanga’ and ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (in Article 2) contributed to later differences of view between the Crown and Māori over how much authority the chiefs would retain and how much the governor would have. There can be little doubt that the chiefs who signed the Treaty expected to enter into some kind of partnership and power sharing in the new system.
In the English text, Māori leaders and people, collectively and individually, were confirmed and guaranteed ‘exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries and other properties’. Māori also agreed to the Crown’s exclusive right to purchase their land. Some Māori (and British) later stated that they understood the Crown to have a first option rather than an exclusive right to buy.
In the Māori text, Māori were guaranteed ‘te tino rangatiratanga’ or the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages, and all their property and treasures. Māori also agreed to give the Crown the right to buy their land if they wished to sell it. It is not certain if the Maori text clearly conveyed the implications of exclusive Crown purchase.
In the Māori text, the Crown gave an assurance that Māori would have the Queen’s protection and all rights (tikanga) accorded to British subjects. This is considered a fair translation of the English. The Queen’s protection of Māori was emphasised here as it was in the preamble.
Both parties note that they have entered into the full spirit of the Treaty.
So it’s 180 wasted years.
A beautiful Treaty betrayed by Settler NZ who ignored that promise and built the economy of this country on stolen indigenous land with zero intention of doing anything more than pay a pittance in compensation.
In fact that ‘compensation’ paid has not healed the trauma of that loss, it’s actually compounded it.
Māori are 380% more likely to be convicted of a crime and 200% more likely to die from heart disease and suicide. Māori are paid 18% less and 34% leave school without a qualification. Māori die earlier and suffer more.
Māori own less homes. Māori are over 50% of those in prison. Māori are 5 times more likely to be taken into State ‘care’.
Māori lost 95% of their land in less than a century.
At the turn of the 19th Century, the experience of colonialism had almost wiped them out.
To have climbed back from cultural extinction is testament to their Mana, not Pakeha good will.
180 wasted years.
The Treaty hasn’t just failed Māori though, its intrinsic promise to protect the rights and agency and self sovereignty of all people in this land has been molested since the neoliberal reforms that fed the grotesque inequality we see around us today.
Pakeha and Māori have both been failed by the promise of the Treaty while the elites have prospered.
However, our quarrels of the past are meaningless compared to the struggle of our collective future. The naked truth of the apocalypse of the climate crisis is that we have simply run out of time to solve the grievances of the past and must now focus on the nemesis of our future.
Right now NZ has floods, drought and fires. The climate crisis catastrophe we face demands radical reforms that don’t have the luxury of time.
The current political spectrum in New Zealand can not radically adapt fast enough to adopt the changes we must make if we are to survive the climate crisis. It will require a radical Political Movement that elects a Party to implement Fortress Aotearoa…
- Move away from intensive farming and look to become domestically self sustainable in terms of food.
- Immediately ban all water exports.
- Empower local communities to make local decisions and set up resilience programs.
- 5 year Parliamentary term so Governments can actually plan for change.
- Upper and Lower House (Upper House 50-50 split between Māori & Pakeha that can hold up legislation if unhappy about Treaty issues)
- Massive investment into R&D from Government with the understanding research is to benefit NZ first before sold offshore.
- Large scale increase in Navy, Army & Airforce.
- Mass limiting of tourism numbers with huge increased tourist taxes.
- Only citizens can vote.
- Sustainable immigration and an end to exploitative migrant workers.
- Resettlement Programms for all pacific island neighbours.
- Increase refugee in take to 10 000 per year
- Fully funded public services focused on real welfare of people.
- Mass Green housing rebuild.
- 100% renewable energy for entire country.
- Massive tree planting across previous farming land.
- Wholesale re-write of state services act to end commercial values.
- Investment into basic pharmaceutical production.
- Financial transaction tax
- Wealth tax
- Multinational tax
- Inheritance tax
- Capitalist monopolies in energy, transport and finance have to be brought into public ownership and control. They should be subject to democratic plans drawn up by the whole community. Workers should have much stronger decision making powers within them.
- All economic sectors to be made take steps needed to decarbonise the economy as much as is needed to reach zero net emissions by 2030.
- Free and frequent public transport on electric buses and/or trains in all main cities.
- Health care and education for life should be free and universally accessible.
- Welfare, pensions, child allowances, should be universal wherever possible.
- Public housing at fixed and affordable rents should be a right of all not just the desperately poor.
- All workers should have a right to a job and the workweek reduced with no loss of pay to make that possible.
- Local communes should be supported for control and delivery of as many functions of the centralised state as possible – including housing, education, health care.
- Local communes to support cooperative forms of production of food, solar and wind energy, electric transport, and media.
On a rapidly warming planet, NZ will increasingly be the life boat for Earth and the tyranny of our distance will become our blessing.
As the climate crisis unfolds more and more people in fury will turn against the current political system too wedded to the economic profits margins of the polluters. It is just a matter of time before the NZ electorate, Māori AND Pakeha, rejects the limitations of the current political spectrum.
On this day 180 years ago each signing Chief was greeted by Hobson and told, ‘He iwi tahi tatou’ (We are [now] one people).
The climate crisis might change that to “We are now the last ones”.