MUST READ: Two Kings, One Country


IT MUST BE TWENTY YEARS since a bunch of well-meaning Pakeha attempted to hold a serious constitutional conference. Republicanism, a topic making a comeback following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, was on this long-ago gathering’s agenda, but so, too, was the Treaty of Waitangi.

That was the problem.

Once the Māori nationalists had laid down the wero of incorporating the Māori version of the Treaty into a reformed New Zealand constitution, the conference was over. As arranged, the good and the great delivered their thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of New Zealand’s ramshackle constitution, but nobody was really listening. Everybody understood that te Tiriti o Waitangi, if accepted as the true constitutional blueprint of New Zealand, would act like the most powerful acid on the institutions and principles of the colonial state.

Those attending the conference also understood that the Māori nationalist position was effectively non-negotiable. All future deviations from the constitutional status-quowould be in the direction indicated by the Māori nationalists and their Pakeha enablers in the judiciary, academia, the public service, the major political parties, and – now – the mainstream media.

In their heart-of-hearts, the Pakeha conference organisers understood that, henceforth, constitutional reform in New Zealand could only be a matter of the slow and incremental advance of te Tiriti to the heart of the New Zealand state. This transformation would be accomplished without the widespread popular debate, or validating public referenda, generally considered essential to the making of new constitutions. Indeed, it was clear that any te Tiriti-based transformation could only be accomplished by subterfuge, and only resisted by force.

For all but the most naïve republicans, therefore, the Queen’s death was an event to be feared: inevitable, but fraught with danger.

The Māori Party’s recent ideological shift from monarchism to republicanism signalled the growing confidence of the Māori nationalist cause. The Crown has lost its magic. The cosy relationship between the House of Windsor and the Kingitanga – which the Prime Minister is desperately trying to shore up by taking King Tuheitia with her to the Queen’s funeral – is as unlikely to withstand the drive towards a radical decolonisation of New Zealand as the “Settler State” itself.

With their Green Party enablers adding their voices to the Māori Party’s call for the indigenisation of the New Zealand constitution – a process which would begin with the repudiation of the name “New Zealand” in favour of “Aotearoa” – and Labour’s Māori Caucus determined not to be outflanked on the left by their Māori Party challengers, the Labour Party will find it increasingly difficult to maintain the position that the republican “conversation” can be put off to a later date.

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That said, the radical agenda of the Māori nationalists will not be without its opponents. Quite how the Kingitanga is supposed to retain any vestige of ideological credibility in an Aotearoa shaped by the requirements of comprehensive decolonisation is a question bound to create serious division. Without the presence of the British Crown, the Māori Crown may strike the radicals as an embarrassing exercise in colonial emulation. The Māori King and his subjects are unlikely to take kindly to such an insulting characterisation.

The Iwi Leaders Group may, similarly, respond with growing alarm to the radicalism inherent in the Māori and Green parties’ decolonisation and indigenisation agenda. The curious blending of aristocracy and capitalism that has grown up under the auspices of the Crown owes very little to the poverty-stricken Māori masses living in the major cities.

Indeed, the blending of traditional Māori leadership with corporate capitalism, was the Crown’s inspired solution to the dangerous political potential of the uprooted urban Māori population. (Those with a working knowledge of Scottish history will recognise the origins of the model in the transformation of traditional clan chiefs into modern capitalist landlords that followed the final defeat of the Jacobite cause in 1745.)

The Māori Party, the Greens, and the Labour Māori Caucus may soon find their radical constitutional plans opposed by an alliance of Māori and Pakeha forces that traverses Left and Right. Included in the opposition, the tertiary-educated and largely middle-class Māori and Pakeha radicals may find not only those Māori who identify primarily as New Zealanders (the nearly half of Maoridom who opt to go on the General Electoral Roll) but also the very poorest and most marginalised Māori.

Young Māori, tertiary qualified, fluent in Te Reo, and earning a six-figure salary from a government agency, may find that they are not received all that warmly by Māori who are crammed into motels, micro-managed by MSD, forced to work for the minimum wage at jobs that don’t pay the rent, and then made to feel worthless on account of their inability to speak their own language, feed their families, or make sure their children attend school. Race and nationality are powerful markers of identity – but so, too, is socio-economic status. So is class.

The ultimate irony of a radical Māori nationalist push for republicanism would be an answering surge towards monarchical institutions. A Māori-Pakeha alliance forged between members of the Professional-Managerial Class in pursuit of a radically identarian republic may yet find itself opposed by a Māori-Pakeha alliance embracing all social classes and dedicated to installing not one, but two, monarchs over New Zealand. Their unifying slogan, harking all the way back to the formation of the Kingitanga in the 1850s, could well be: “King Charles III in his place, King Tuheitia in his, and the Treaty of Waitangi over them both.”

It is not difficult to imagine the said King Charles, and King Tuheitia, at Turangawaewae, jointly signing a new covenant, in which the common rights and privileges of all New Zealanders, and the resources and treasures of both its peoples, are reaffirmed, protected and guaranteed by the two Crowns, and the democratically elected bi-cameralparliament, of the dual monarchy of Aotearoa-New Zealand.

The radical, Māori nationalist drive towards a te Tiriti-driven, identarian republican constitution, written to advance the interests of both the Māori and the Pakeha members of the Professional-Managerial Class, may end up driving the traditional defenders of capitalism, liberal democracy, and the rights and aspirations of working people, into a set of constitutional arrangements as odd as they are innovative.

Radical, identarian republicanism may yet make royalists of us all.


  1. At days end its all about the scramble for the lolly jar. Becoming PMC with preferential access to the goods and citizens collective cash is the name of the game. Its the educated pakeha liberals way to a happy life, and if non pakeha join in, all good, welcome, it reinforces the model.
    Meanwhile this has to be paid for by production, real wealth generation, not administration and dances with Woke ideas. That means working NZers and business owners fighting one another for a pie increasingly eaten by the PMC. In turn that would indicate both capital and workers will turn on the PMC and any institutions that they control, such as the Crown. Fun times.

  2. As shown recently in Chile: the moment any of the radical Maori agenda being (now) blatantly push by the government, PMC and media gets put to referendum it will struck down hard.

    All Luxon or (more likely) Seymour have to do is keep promising a referendum on the abortion that is He Puapua, hell even just the official use of Aotearoa being forced in everywhere, and the right will win the next election.

    • Exclamation Mark If Luxon is smart he may suggest that the Maori king apologise to Maori whose
      ancestors were stolen from and butchered from by other warring tribes and who were also frequently eaten by them. The Maori king could ponder cannibalised barbecued live little babies, and consider thanking the colonials who put an end to that particularly vile and cruel practice.

      • Gentle Annie actually you should be thanking his ancestor because your ancestor would of be slaughtered and eaten if it wasn’t for the intervention of Tainui. Man where to you fuckers get your BS from??

      • the FPP works for the majority in a liberal democracy that how that system stifle Maori accessing their resources to create a better standards of living for there people!! Get a fucken brain James+Brown

  3. One small problem. Ask any Maori outside of the kingitanga area if Tuheitia is their king. Expanding the kingdom is not an idea that would be received in any other rohe.

  4. One small problem. Ask any Maori outside of the kingitanga area if Tuheitia is their king. Expanding the kingdom is not an idea that would be received in any other rohe.

  5. As you imply, the difficulty that the Maori Party proposal has is that it requires majority support.
    For the last 40 years the constitutional changes that have occurred in Maori Pakeha relations have been incremental. Involving judicial and legislative steps. That has been enough to bring about Te Reo as an official language, kura Kaupapa schools, treaty settlements and a much greater Maori role in the governance and social fabric of the nation.
    Direct change to our parliamentary system is much more difficult. it require either a 75% vote in parliament of a referendum. Neither are likely. As the vote in Chile has just shown.
    Instead we will continue a more incremental approach.

    • The managerial class are always trying to dive under the minimum. Those opposed to three waters want at least the maintenance of one person one vote. It’s obvious why they want that, their votes are currently worth less than one. I’m happy to have the rights and privileges caped at one person one vote for all.

    • No they don’t as PeterH and Denny say.
      The Kingitanga institution seems valued by Waikato Tainui and perhaps others but friends in Northland, Gisborne and South Island say that King Tuheitia is nothing to do with them or their Iwi.

    • My recollection, perhaps faulty, is that Dame Te Atairangikaahu preferred the title Arikinui to that of Queen or Kuini.
      The King movement in the Waikato was, I think, part of the attempt to repel the colonial seizure of land by forces perceived to be agents of the British Queen.
      Perhaps, once New Zealand has divested itself of the last associations with the British monarch, the Waikato-Tainui King movement will gradually abandon notions of kingship.

      • John Trezise, that a more accurate depiction then reading some these half-wit knowitall historians. Also Tainui Maori were the lifeblood of the NZ economy before the invasion of there region in 1863 there contributions to crown coffers was eminence and settlers in Auckland knew that without Tainui feeding them they would of starved. The amount of mis-information and bigotry on these sites is fucken terrible!!

        • We don’t know our own history in NZ. It was never taught to us correctly at school. I had to go to university to learn that there was more than one te tiriti o Waitangi document, for example.

  6. Well in the end. The Waikato King is only the King of the Waikato.
    It was a job that was supposed to be shared by other Maori leaders but…
    But anyway, I think we’re due an early election and a series of referenda to discuss this Republican lark and also if we need to move toward governance by referendum because we have shite political parties and politicians that are useless! Letting the public govern by referendum is our only option.

    • Tane/Male/Man,+not+Female/Woman the referendum is a FPP liberal democracy fallacy that denies Maori access to their resources creating themselves a better standards of life, I think you’re not that dumb to realize. We’ve been banging on with this shit since ‘Mai Rano’ because plenty of fuckers like you claim some moral high-ground!

  7. My word it’s boring, isn’t it. Reminds me of our little daughter, aged about 3, kicking up a fuss in a family gathering because she wasn’t getting a chance to talk. When all the grown-ups stopped talking to let her have a turn, she couldn’t think of anything to say. Yes yes we all need a turn, but let’s for God’s sake get our brains in gear first.

  8. I can’t disagree with Chris. It’s interesting that the Maori who signed the treaty saw more than a peaceful partnership with the crown, some also saw the benefits of royalty itself. In 1855, 15 years after the signing, Tamihana the son of Te Rauparaha, travelled to England to see Queen Victoria. He brought back ideas of how starting a Maori royalty would bring the tribes together and strengthen a Maori Kingdom of the future. Younger Maori may not see any value of our connection with British Royalty but their ancestor’s certainly did.

    • New+view, Did you know what happened to Tamahana oldman? He was kidnapped by that half Irish fucker George Grey who by the way learnt his trade ethnically cleansing Irish peasants from their lands and replacing them with English peasants. Good ole Georgie was a character who touted himself as a progressive but beneath that veneer of respectability was a ruthless calculating cunning fucker.

      On the 23rd of July 1846, (if you’re historically illiterate you need to go back to checkout 1839-1840 when the NZ company made dubious purchases in the Wairau area) the once formidable Ngati Toa rangatira (Chief) who had constructed a maritime empire was kidnapped and taken on board the naval vessel Driver at his kainga Taupo Pa location now Plimmerton. He was an ageing oldman and had little or no fight in him when this fiasco took place. He was taken to the settlement of Auckland and was held under a form of house arrest in a cottage belonging to Ngati Mahuta ariki- Chief of the highest rank – Te Wherowhero who would become the first Maori king.

      Georgie boy plan was to take advantage of the Oldman forced absence to push through land purchases that were pittance from Porirua to Wairau in 1847, eventually allowing the old frail Te Rauparaha to return south of Otaki the following year. He later died in November 1849.

      • A good history lesson for me Stephen. My clumsy attempt to just make the point that some Maori of that time could see the value of a Monarchy in bringing various factions together. No it hasn’t worked out that way. Every tribe wanting control over its own areas. It seems that the Treaty is the only way all tribes will participate for a better future.

        • exactly. Unity was the driving force for Tamati Waka Nene when he decided to support the British he could see the advantages for his people in trading with the settlers instead of constantly fighting other tribes.And becoming poorer as a result. Nga Puhi were the wealthiest and largest tribe because of their abundant food supplies which were far superior to those of Tainui.Their penchant for enslaving other tribes has meant they have always been distrusted by other tribes. This is the backward mindset the neo -tibalists want us to return to!

  9. We have a comfortable constitutional convention where our notional head of state, now King Charles III, is represented by a Governor-General whose relevance to our government is entirely ceremonial.
    Matthew Hooton recently proposed that we could replace the British monarch by appointing Aoraki/Mount Cook president, presumably eternal president like North Korea’s Kim Il-sung of unhappy memory. And nothing would change.
    The Aoraki suggestion illustrates that we need neither king nor president.
    Parliament is sovereign: a parliamentary democracy needs a head of state like a fish needs a bicycle.
    We should replace both distant monarch and local GG not with a head of state by any name, but something useful: a constitutional court of the Chief Justice and two other Supreme Court justices, whose duties would be to appoint prime ministers and governments, and to guard us against tyranny by approving or rejecting legislation and by dismissing governments that sought to infringe on our liberties as defined by the Bill of Rights.
    And we could make this change by simple act of Parliament, though it would clearly need to be entrenched by a supermajority.

    • Sure a modern democracy merely needs oversight or guardianship of the process. And thus any change should involve as little politics as possible.

      However I would not compare the foreign monarch to a local mountain but to an island (and its constitutional tradition within its parliamentary system) called Britain (to many Pakeha as a Taiwan/Atiu/Raiatea to Maori).

      I suppose one could have a Crown Governorship Council perform the duties currently performed by the GG as agent of the foreign/disinterested royal. The use of the term Crown would be important so as to legal continuity and why some prefer a person in office as Crown Governor.

      However the idea that there would be real power held by a legal authority to reject legislation and depose elected governments is a major change to that offshore Britain tradition that we have inherited. What you suggest would result in a politicisation of judicial appointments and we know where that leads … (SCOTUS).

      A Crown Governorship Council made up of a Crown Governor, and say say a public servant and a former justice to provide expert advice might work better.

    • Meh. The only party acting in reference to the Crown as Treaty partner is the New Zealand government. And the Crown obligation, in reference to the Treaty, would only be more directly connected to the New Zealand government if the “Crown” was no longer represented by a foreign person (and thus the GG here) but the New Zealand nation state.

  10. “We should replace both distant monarch and local GG not with a head of state by any name, but something useful: a constitutional court of the Chief Justice and two other Supreme Court justices, whose duties would be to appoint prime ministers and governments, and to guard us against tyranny by approving or rejecting legislation and by dismissing governments that sought to infringe on our liberties as defined by the Bill of Rights.”

    Like the rogue US Supreme Court is guarding against tyranny there?

  11. “We should replace both distant monarch and local GG not with a head of state by any name, but something useful: a constitutional court of the Chief Justice and two other Supreme Court justices, whose duties would be to appoint prime ministers and governments, and to guard us against tyranny by approving or rejecting legislation and by dismissing governments that sought to infringe on our liberties as defined by the Bill of Rights.”

    Like the rogue US Supreme Court is guarding against tyranny there?

  12. Tuheitia Paki should have no more part to play in a modern Aotearoa New Zealand than any other citizen. Charles Windsor should play no part.


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