Waitangi Day celebrations

That should be repeated through the year.

Going by Twitter there seems to be a media obsession with BBQs.  There must be more interesting stuff to report on.

Someone referred to BBQs as ‘WhiteHangi Day’.

Waitangi Day or Aotearoa Day?

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a big deal in New Zealand’s history as well as at present. Annual commemorations and celebrations and discussions and debate are an important tradition, as well as a way of trying to deal with things better now and in the future.

A problem though is that most of the attention is in Waitangi, in the far north of the country. And most of the interest and involvement seems to be from far north Māori , Nga Puhi. Many New Zealanders see it mainly as a Northland thing in the main.

I think that Waitangi Day will and should continue. But do we also need a more general, national celebration, perhaps an  Aotearoa Day?

Incidentally Waitangi means ‘weeping waters’, although most of the annual commemorations there are positive, despite protester and media efforts to highlight tioronei hoki tōna reo and ki ngā niho e tetē haere ana (that’s supposed to mean speaking in strident or shrill voices, and gnashing of teeth).

Waitangi Day is supposed to be ‘the national day of New Zealand’.

NZ History:

Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In that year, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori chiefs signed what is often considered to be New Zealand’s founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.

For some people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Māori, it is the occasion for reflecting on the Treaty. Since the 1970s the style and mood of the commemorations on Waitangi Day have been influenced by the increasingly heated debate surrounding the place of the Treaty in modern New Zealand.

Waitangi Day is recognised as New Zealand’s national day, but the long-standing tensions associated with it are always likely to surface in one form or another. The date is an important marker in the country’s history. Recognition of the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi as the nation’s founding document will continue to encourage leaders, communities and individuals to mark the day in new ways.

Wikipedia:

Waitangi Day is the national day of New Zealand, and commemorates the signing, on 6 February 1840, of the Treaty of Waitangi. Ceremonies take place at Waitangi, Northland to commemorate the signing of the treaty, which is regarded as New Zealand’s founding document.

It may officially be recognised as our ‘national day’, but it doesn’t have a national feel about it for me, and I think probably for many if not most New Zealanders. It is more a distant gathering albeit with some national significance.

The first Waitangi Day (NZ History):

In 1932 Governor-General Lord Bledisloe gifted the Treaty House and grounds at Waitangi to the nation. He hoped that the site would become a national memorial, symbolising that the Treaty of Waitangi had initiated a unique relationship between the indigenous and the colonising peoples.

In February 1934 Bledisloe’s gift was marked by celebrations. A pattern for subsequent events was set. It involved two sites – the Treaty House grounds (where the whare rūnanga would be built) and Te Tii marae close by – several organising bodies (Māori, Pākehā and government), and Bledisloe’s prayer that ‘the sacred compact made in these waters may be faithfully and honourably kept for all time to come’. A second prayer hoped that the two races might unite as one nation through Christianity – Bledisloe’s interpretation of Lieutenant-Governor Hobson’s words at the 1840 signing, ‘He iwi tahi tātou’ (Now we are one people).

The Christianity goal seems to have largely been dropped, fortunately.

The events had special meaning for many as they looked back to their independent status before the signing of the Treaty: 1834, when northern tribes chose a national flag at Waitangi, and 1835 when they issued a Declaration of Independence.

Māori and Pākehā perceptions of past and present events were clearly at variance in 1934. Waitangi became a stage on which the interplay of relationships – past and present – was repeated.

1940 Centennial

In 1940 New Zealand marked the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The government made a great show of national pride and unity at Waitangi. Newspapers talked of Waitangi as the ‘cradle of the nation’ and the Treaty as the ‘foundation of nationhood’. The Treaty and Waitangi began to find a place in the national consciousness, although for most New Zealanders they were of historical interest only.

Post-war

The annual ceremonies at Waitangi expanded through the 1950s. Thousands attended, and the governor-general’s speech became a feature. Forging one nation from the partnership of two races by a sacred compact was a common theme, but the often expressed ideal of ‘one people’ provided an excellent opportunity for Māori to protest at the shortfall between promise and practice in race relations.

Waitangi Day Act 1960

In 1957 the Labour Party promised that 6 February would be declared a public holiday in view of the Treaty of Waitangi’s historical significance and its influence on Pākehā–Māori relations. Labour won the 1957 election and the four Labour Party Ratana Māori MPs (Tiaki Ōmana, Tāpihana Paikea, Iriaka Rātana, Eruera Tirikātene) tried to hold it to its promise.

The Waitangi Day Act 1960 declared that 6 February would be known as Waitangi Day, and would be observed throughout the country ‘as a national day of thanksgiving in commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi’. The act did not provide for a public holiday, although any locality could substitute Waitangi Day for any public holiday it already observed.

Northland Anniversary Day

 In 1963 the National government passed the Waitangi Day Amendment Act. Waitangi Day now supplanted the Auckland provincial anniversary day for Northland. This reinforced identification of the day with the north.

New Zealand Day – “a day for each New Zealander to enjoy as they saw fit”

The Labour government made the most of Waitangi Day 1973, with Prime Minister Norman Kirk announcing that from 1974 it would be a national holiday known as New Zealand Day.

Minister of Māori Affairs Matiu Rata, who had introduced a private member’s bill for this in 1971, indicated the government’s intentions. The day, he said, was to be neither ‘a symbolic nor religious occasion’ but a day for each New Zealander to enjoy as they saw fit, and the forerunner of an effort to achieve a ‘full sense of nationhood’.

Rata was also working towards making legislative provision for the Waitangi Tribunal in the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. He saw that it would be useful to separate the struggle over Treaty claims from the issue of a national day. The two acts were intended to be complementary.

A New Zealand Day, still on 6 February and with a wide appeal, might build public support for Māori Treaty rights, especially if communities became more informed about the Treaty’s part in New Zealand history.

Kirk wanted the first New Zealand Day in 1974 (which involved a royal visit) to acknowledge the country’s multicultural identity. A two-and-a-half-hour extravaganza was organised, watched by 20,000 people at Waitangi and screened on television.

The show, Aotearoa, depicted the country’s journey towards nationhood and the part played by people of many cultures.

Waitangi Day again

New Zealand Day 1975 passed quietly at Waitangi, perhaps because of Norman Kirk’s recent death. Elsewhere there was little of the celebration of the national day by local communities that Labour had hoped for.

The concept of a national day needed time to take root. It was not to be given this by the National government that took office at the end of 1975. The Waitangi Day Act 1976 reinstated the name Waitangi Day. The government argued that a number of representations had emphasised that the name recognised the significance of the Treaty and its spirit.

The name change repositioned the public holiday as a Māori–Pākehā event – no matter what the content of commemorations – and underscored the likelihood that Waitangi would continue to be the focus for protests.

From 1975, the organisation of annual events reverted, in the main, to northern groups, and the day was very much a northern affair, despite the national holiday.

And that is largely how it is today. There are more events marking Waitangi Day around the country, but they are either unknown or ignored by most people.

The 1990 sesquicentennial

New Zealand marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1990. The 1990 Commission, in charge of co-ordinating and promoting activities for the sesquicentennial year, was convinced that the Māori–Pakehā partnership concept had to be broadened to embrace the many cultures of the nation. The Treaty and Waitangi Day had their place, but they were not the only factors in the national identity equation.

Protesters were not absent, but it was Anglican Bishop of Aotearoa Whakahuihui Vercoe who made the most telling public statement. His speech signalled that no matter what the programme, the day was bound to produce tensions.

Those tensions have continued. For some it is more a day of expressing grievance than of expressing national unity.

The pattern of attendance by dignitaries, speeches and Māori and navy involvement at Waitangi resumed after 1990. There was no clear vision of what the day would mean were it ever to be a day for the nation as a whole; it often proved difficult to co-ordinate the various players in the event.

The Waitangi National Trust Board saw the day as the one time in the year when New Zealanders could be one people.

The formal Waitangi Day programme in 1991 and 1992 was intended to reflect the Māori–Pākehā partnership of tangata whenua (people of the land) and tangata tiriti (people of the Treaty), the latter being a concept that aims to give non-Māori partners a feeling that they have a right to call New Zealand their tūrangawaewae (a place to stand).

That didn’t really work out, there have been tensions, issues and protests since then, often political in nature.

The difficulties associated with events at Waitangi and Te Tii marae raised questions about whether official commemorations should continue to be held there. Cabinet decided that in 2001 there would be no official representation at Waitangi, but, in the end, two cabinet ministers were present.

The Crown returned to Waitangi in 2002, with the governor-general, attorney general and prime minister all in attendance. Protesters disturbed the welcome at Te Tii marae and an early church service in the whare rūnanga on the Treaty House grounds, but other events were held in a celebratory atmosphere.

Protests have continued at Waitangi, and the prime minister has not always attended events there on Waitangi Day.

Last year new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a big impression at Waitangi Day, but Leader of the Opposition Bill English stayed away. Not long after that Simon Bridges replaced English as Natikonal’s leader.

This year Bridges has taken part in Waitangi events alongside Ardern. Perhaps this marks a change for ongoing unity.

Moves to commemorate Waitangi Day across New Zealand have expanded in the early 21st century. Functions and events are now held throughout the country.

Māori communities have used the day as an opportunity to discuss the Treaty. Some marae hold open days or run talks on the place of the Treaty in New Zealand. New Zealanders elsewhere also now mark the day. There have been concerts in London, as well as less formal activities.

But it is still largely a Northland event, dominated by far north Māori and politicians, and a magnet for protesters wanting to attract attention.

Waitangi Day has changed a lot over the years since it started ion 1934. perhaps it will eventually evolve into more of a national day. Or perhaps it will always be just Waitangi Day, largely about the Treaty of Waitangi.

So should we also have a national Aotearoa Day at a different time of year?

Waitangi – inclusion, protest and handouts

It is to be expected that there there will be some sort of protests and attention seeking leading up to or on Waitangi Day. That is sort of a tradition. If there are protests the media will be on to them – they can sometimes dominate coverage, even though they are only a small part of proceedings.

Inclusiveness has been promoted in the form of earpieces for politicians so they can hear translations of speeches (presumably the ones spoken in Māori).

NZ Herald: Changes for official powhiri at Waitangi

For the first time, politicians and dignitaries will be given earpieces to hear the translated words of their hosts during the official welcome to Waitangi next week.

The powhiri was until recently held at Ti Tii Marae. It was moved over concerns the event had become a “circus” and moved to Te Whare Runanga on the upper marae at the Treaty Grounds.

The idea was that of Māori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis, who has also introduced changes to the way the powhiri on February 5 is conducted.

“We’re trying to build on the good atmosphere that was generated last year, and the idea is to return dignity and decorum to proceedings,” Davis told the Weekend Herald.

“In previous years, whoever was the government would go on and be bolstered by officials and CEs and there’d be a big jostle for position, and the Opposition was just left to fend for themselves at a later powhiri.”

All parties had agreed to go on as one group this year for one parliamentary powhiri.

“We’ve organised the simultaneous translation earpieces for everybody. It’s about being inclusive and I think it’s the way New Zealand needs to head, where everybody understands what everyone’s saying so we don’t talk past each other,” said Davis.

“It’s a small thing but I think it means a lot to those people who in the past felt excluded. We want to celebrate New Zealand’s day, and it all started here in Waitangi.”

John Key stopped going to Waitangi events after 2015, and Bill English chose not to go while national leader, but Simon Bridges has decided to attend.

“I think every leader has to make their own decision. For me, it’s my first opportunity as leader to do it. I’m really keen to and I’m looking forward to it. It’s our country’s day. The Treaty of Waitangi is so clearly part of the fabric of New Zealand and it recognises the special place of Māori in our bicultural foundations.”

Jacinda Ardern will be leading a large Labour delegation, with most of their MPs attending. Last year she was the first female prime minister to speak during the powhiri, where she said:

“When we return in one year, in three years, I ask you to ask us what we have done for you”.

This year she and Shane Jones have announced $100 million investment to support Māori landowners and drive regional growth

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $100 million to help unlock the economic potential of whenua Māori and build prosperity in our regions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced today.

“An integral part of any inclusive and successful regional economic development strategy lies with supporting Māori landowners to create new opportunities that will lift incomes and the wellbeing of our regions,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Access to capital remains a challenge for Māori landowners as the special status of their land means commercial banks are less willing to lend to them. I’m pleased that through the PGF, we’re in a unique position to be able to support these landowners.

“Funding will enable Māori to access the capital required to progress projects which are investment-ready and will ultimately support moves towards higher-value land use.”

“I’m proud we’re able to make this announcement today, which is a vital step in creating greater prosperity around New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and other ministers joined the Prime Minister at Otamatea Marae in the Kaipara district to make the announcement.

“Supporting Māori economic development is a key focus of the Provincial Growth Fund.  That’s because lifting the productivity of Māori land will have enormous benefits for regional economies and it is an opportunity we cannot afford to ignore,” Shane Jones said

And Labour cannot afford not to promote Government handouts.

Also Investing to kick-start key infrastructure in Kaipara

The Government will help pave the way for future economic growth in Kaipara with a $20.39m investment from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to strengthen the district’s transport infrastructure and food and horticulture sector.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement at Otamatea Marae in Kaipara today.

”There has been a long history of underinvestment in Northland, particularly in infrastructure. The Government is absolutely committed to investing in the public services and infrastructure that make our country and communities strong,” Jacinda Ardern said.

On the inclusive front, Don Brash gets to have a say at Waitangi again: Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash to speak at Waitangi

Former politician Don Brash has been invited to speak at the lower marae at Waitangi, where he was once pelted with mud by protesters angry at his infamous Orewa speech.

Brash, who was at the time the National Party leader, was hit in the face as he spoke to reporters at Waitangi in 2004, just a few days after the speech to Orewa Rotarians in which he railed against special treatment of Māori.

He is now spokesman for Hobson’s Pledge, a group which campaigns against racial separatism or favouritism under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Also: Destiny Church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki to speak at Waitangi event

A battle of the Bishops is shaping up at Waitangi this week between Destiny Church’s Bishop Brian Tamaki and Te Tai Tokerau Anglican Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu who will be holding services at the same time at different locations.

The official Waitangi Day Anglican service is held at 10am at Te Whare Rūnanga on the Treaty Grounds.

At the same time, Tamaki will be speaking at Te Tii Marae. He is bringing with him around 2000 supporters, many of them the Tu Tangata Riders.

Reuben Taipari, who has organised the forum tent at Te Tii, where speakers including Don Brash will appear this year, said he had invited Tamaki to speak there but the invitation had been declined.

“Now that the forum’s full, of course, I think he regrets that he’s not participating. So his idea is to call up his own facility and attract all the attention over there. And I’m sure that he’ll get some. So good luck to him.

So there should be plenty for the media to report on.

Waitangi Day is on Wednesday. It is a big day for Māori in the far north, and also for politicians. There will be other less prominent events around the country.

 

Ardern to miss Ratana to attend Davos

I’m not sure what the big deal about politicians attending the January Ratana Church event – they don’t give this attention to any other religion – but the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will miss it this year to attend the he World Economic Forum in Davos.

RNZ:  Prime Minister won’t attend Ratana celebrations

Jacinda Ardern will be in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum and deputy PM Winston Peters will take her place. On her return from Davos, the prime minister – along with ministers and Maori MPs – will make the trek to Northland to attend Waitangi commemorations.

RNZ: Labour Māori MPs face demands for action as PM misses Rātana celebrations

Last year, the freshly-minted Prime Minister kicked off the political year at Rātana and Waitangi with warm welcomes and celebration at the news she was expecting her first child.

In two weeks Jacinda Ardern was expected to return to Rātana – a Labour stronghold – but international travel to Switzerland for the World Economic Forum means her deputy Winston Peters will instead take her place.

And from there Ardern will attend Waitangi Day celebrations. She made a big impression last year, going top Waitangi for five days, but she will struggle to match that performance.

On her return from Davos she, along with a strong contingent of ministers and Māori MPs, will make the trek to Northland where her attendance at Waitangi commemorations is locked in, but she’s yet to commit to attending the annual Iwi Chairs Forum on 1 February.

In a statement Ms Ardern said her schedule for Waitangi was still being worked through and a decision about whether to attend the Iwi Chairs Forum hadn’t yet been made.

While some say Ms Ardern’s absence from the forum would be viewed as a snub, others say Māori have moved on from waiting with bated breath for the prime minister to deliver a speech of promises and instead just want to get on with business.

Mr Paraone said they can expect to receive some criticism at Waitangi as well as some free advice on what to do better.

“There will be some of my relatives who over the past twelve months have been quite critical of the Māori members, particularly those from the north, and then there will be others who will continue to be quite supportive of them but by the same token be whispering in their ears saying, hey we expect a bit more.”

But Rangitane Marsden, the chief executive of Ngāi Takoto – the iwi hosting the forum this year – said many Māori had moved away from expecting the government to provide for them, and, rather, the focus this year was on iwi economic development and building a strong business relationship with the Crown.

“I think this is the year where we want to sit down and do business, so that’s probably the theme of what we’d be after with government: it’s ‘let’s not keep talking about things, let’s not have anymore rhetoric speeches, let’s actually make something happen and be real about what we do’.”

“I think there’s a new opportunity to build a stronger relationship so we can move forward. In the past … there’s been a lot of energy put into the relationship with National and now that we have a new government it’s probably a switch of tack.”

Iwi leaders are hoping Ms Ardern will attend the forum but at the same time Mr Marsden said they’ve reached a point where they don’t need the prime minister repeating herself in order to get things done.

“So while every year at the election or Waitangi we’d wait with bated breath for a particular prime minister to describe what they’re going to do to make a difference for us – those days are fast disappearing,” he said.

I would expect Labour to deliver on something to Māori now theyt hold all seven Māori  electorates

From Waitangi’s Waitangi Day to New Zealand’s Waitangi Day

National MP Nuk Koraka explains Why Bill English and I went south for Waitangi Day

By using our national day to engage with iwi from all over the country, we send a message that we’re serious about the spirit of the Treaty instead of being where there will be the most cameras, writes Nuk Korako, National’s spokesperson for Māori Development

Waitangi Day is a day for discussion; a day for remembering; and a day for moving forward not, as some believe, a day for highlighting divisions. Waitangi Day should be – and for most of us is – a day to look back at what has been and come together to look at what can be.

This year, I joined Bill English for Ngāi Tahu’s Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Rau Aroha Marae in Awarua. The decision to go south this year was based on our belief that Waitangi Day is a day important to all Māori across New Zealand, and was in no way a slight on Ngāpuhi, as some have suggested.

The rich history and tikanga felt within the Treaty Grounds made it an undeniably special place to spend Waitangi Day.

We must always remember, the Treaty has signatories across the country, so it is only right to travel to those places like Awarua, in acknowledgement of that. As did our National Party members who attended Waitangi this year. Bill, I and a number of our colleagues spent the day engaging and discussing the progress and the work still to do between the Crown and iwi across New Zealand.

Iwi everywhere have their own stories of the Treaty and what Waitangi Day means to them and that includes Ngāi Tahu. One hundred and seventy eight years ago, on 10 June 1840, Ngāi Tahu Rakatira John Tuhawaiki, Kaikoura Whakatau, and Te Matenga Taiaroa signed the Treaty of Waitangi on Ruapuke Island just across from Awarua. Iwikau and Hone Tikao had previously signed at Akaroa on 30 May. Hone Karetai and my tipuna Korako were to sign in Otago on 13 June 1848.

The Tiriti o Waitangi was a nationwide agreement. Waitangi Day is overwhelmingly focussed on the place it was first signed, Waitangi, while most of the rest of the country largely ignores it, apart from some enjoying a public holiday for some.

By using our national day to engage with iwi from all over the country, we send a message that we’re serious about the spirit of the Treaty instead of being where there’ll be the most cameras.

The Treaty, to other iwi in New Zealand, does not begin and end at Waitangi. The Treaty is not about a place – it’s about people.  It’s not a location – it’s an agreement. And it was an agreement made with a large number of Rakatira across a number of different locations. And the debates that were held in those various locations were as deep, hot, and contentious as the ones that occurred at Waitangi all those decades ago.

Bill’s decision to spend Waitangi in Awarua is not a rejection of Ngapuhi or of others who attend Waitangi. It’s about the rest of the iwi of Aotearoa whose men and women signed the treaty 178 years ago.

The history of protest at Waitangi, and the actions of protesters in drawing attention to themselves is a feature of that part of the country. It does not and never has represented the celebrations that occur in other parts of Aotearoa.

From Ōrākei in Auckland to Awarua in Bluff and even across to the Chatham Islands, February the 6th is a day of whānau, community, and a coming together of Māori and Pākehā to celebrate an event that defines us as a nation.

If Waitangi Day is ever to be recognised as a significant national day then it needs to be embraced and celebrated around the country.

Jacinda Ardern got a lot of positive press for her five day effort in Waitangi, and may have been the catalyst for a new era of recognising Waitangi Day.

But Koroko and English have made an important point.

To really come of age the treaty needs to grow from being Waitangi’s Waitangi Day to being New Zealand’s Waitangi Day.

Will that ever happen?

 

Ardern at Waitangi

In the little I heard about Jacinda Ardern’s speech at Waitangi yesterday – remarkably the first time a woman has been allowed to speak on the occasion – she seems to have been thoughtful, sensible and engaging.

She said she would continue to engage over several days at Waitangi in future years. That’s fine, but she could do with remembering even the treaty toured the country.

RNZ – PM to Māori at Waitangi: hold govt to account

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delivered an historic speech at Waitangi, standing on the porch of the whare rūnanga.

Ms Ardern delivered her speech during the formal welcome – a first for a female prime minister – touching on the future, her hopes for her child, and her hopes for the future of Crown-Māori relations.

She said she did not take lightly the privilege extended to her to speak from the porch, as a Prime Minister and as a woman. She said she was particularly proud to stand alongside the largest contingent of Māori MPs in the Labour party, and each and every one of them represented their people, she said.

 

“As a government we have been here for five days. We did not come simply for the beauty and hospitality of the North. We came because there is work to do, much mahi to do and we will only achieve what needs to be done together.

“So in this five days we have talked about education, health, employment, roads, housing. But now we must take the talk to action. This is the beginning for our government and I thank you.”

“We have to also start thinking as a nation of what extends beyond the negotiating table. That is not the end of our relationship nor is it the end of the Crown’s responsibility.

“We created the portfolio as an acknowledgement that our relationship goes beyond the negotiating table.”

“My first time here I was probably no more than 7 years old.

“My father brought his two daughters to the treaty grounds … he wanted us to learn the history of the place we were living and lucky enough to call home.

“I can’t help think of the kinds of things I would want my child to think about as they come on to these grounds and to this place. My hope is that they know this place’s history. That they know of the 28 October and the declaration of independence.

“My hope is that they would know of the history of [Waitangi] and those stories may be hard to hear but I am certain they are even harder to tell. That is our history and we must always be honest about our history.”

“I hope that they know the value of kaitiakitanga – that we have a role as guardians of our environment … and I hope they know that we value the ability to speak frankly and openly to one another – kanohi ki te kanohi – face to face.

“We should never shy away from that because if we don’t speak freely how do we change?

“If we value that about ourselves as a nation 364 days of the year, why would we not value it here at Waitangi? Speaking frankly and openly is not a sign of failure, but a sign of the health of our nation.

“I also hope that my child will know that we have the power to change and we must change.

“We as a government, we know what we have to do. We know all of the failings that we have as a nation but we won’t always know exactly how to change it.

“There will be no marae too small for us.

“So when we return in one year, in three years, I ask you to ask of us ‘what have we done?’ Ask us what we have done to improve poverty … ask us, hold us to account.

“Because one day I want to be able to tell my child that I earned the right to stand here, and only you can tell me when I have done that.”

Speaking to Morning Report, Ardern said she felt like she had been given the privilege of being a part of history.

WAITANGI DAY

Today is Waitangi Day, a day of commemoration at signing of the Te Tiriti O Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi at Waitangi in the far north of New Zealand. Most of the focus will be on Waitangi, but there will also be events in some other parts of the country.


New Zealand History: The Treaty in brief

he Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed, on 6 February 1840. This day is now a public holiday in New Zealand. The Treaty is an agreement, in Māori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs).

Growing numbers of British migrants arrived in New Zealand in the late 1830s, and there were plans for extensive settlement. Around this time there were large-scale land transactions with Māori, unruly behaviour by some settlers and signs that the French were interested in annexing New Zealand. The British government was initially unwilling to act, but it eventually realised that annexing the country could protect Māori, regulate British subjects and secure commercial interests.

Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson had the task of securing British sovereignty over New Zealand. He relied on the advice and support of, among others, James Busby, the British Resident in New Zealand. The Treaty was prepared in just a few days. Missionary Henry Williams and his son Edward translated the English draft into Māori overnight on 4 February. About 500 Māori debated the document for a day and a night before it was signed on 6 February.

Hobson and others stressed the Treaty’s benefits while playing down the effects of British sovereignty on rangatiratanga (chiefly authority). Reassured that their status would be strengthened, many chiefs supported the agreement. About 40 chiefs, starting with Hōne Heke, signed the Māori version of the Treaty on 6 February.

By September, another 500 had signed the copies of the document that were sent around the country. Some signed while remaining uncertain; others refused or had no chance to sign. Almost all signed the Māori text. The Colonial Office in England later declared that the Treaty applied to Māori tribes whose chiefs had not signed. British sovereignty over the country was proclaimed on 21 May 1840.

The Treaty is a broad statement of principles on which the British and Māori made a political compact to found a nation state and build a government in New Zealand. The document has three articles. In the English version, Māori cede the sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain; Māori give the Crown an exclusive right to buy lands they wish to sell, and, in return, are guaranteed full rights of ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and other possessions; and Māori are given the rights and privileges of British subjects.

The Treaty in Māori was deemed to convey the meaning of the English version, but there are important differences. Most significantly, the word ‘sovereignty’ was translated as ‘kawanatanga’ (governance). Some Māori believed they were giving up government over their lands but retaining the right to manage their own affairs.

KO WIKITORIA te Kuini o Ingarani i tana mahara atawai ki nga Rangatira me nga Hapu o Nu Tirani i tana hiahia hoki kia tohungia ki a ratou o ratou rangatiratanga me to ratou wenua, a kia mau tonu hoki te Rongo ki a ratou me te Atanoho hoki kua wakaaro ia he mea tika kia tukua mai tetahi Rangatira – hei kai wakarite ki nga Tangata maori o Nu Tirani – kia wakaaetia e nga Rangatira Maori te Kawanatanga o te Kuini ki nga wahikatoa o te wenua nei me nga motu – na te mea hoki he tokomaha ke nga tangata o tona Iwi Kua noho ki tenei wenua, a e haere mai nei.

Na ko te Kuini e hiahia ana kia wakaritea te Kawanatanga kia kaua ai nga kino e puta mai ki te tangata Maori ki te Pakeha e noho ture kore ana.

Na kua pai te Kuini kia tukua a hau a Wiremu Hopihona he Kapitana i te Roiara Nawi hei Kawana mo nga wahi katoa o Nu Tirani e tukua aianei amua atu ki te Kuini, e mea atu ana ia ki nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga o nga hapu o Nu Tirani me era Rangatira atu enei ture ka korerotia nei.

Ko te tuatahi

Ko nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa hoki ki hai i uru ki taua wakaminenga ka tuku rawa atu ki te Kuini o Ingarani ake tonu atu – te Kawanatanga katoa o o ratou wenua.

Ko te tuarua

Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangitira ki nga hapu – ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa. Otiia ko nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa atu ka tuku ki te Kuini te hokonga o era wahi wenua e pai ai te tangata nona te Wenua – ki te ritenga o te utu e wakaritea ai e ratou ko te kai hoko e meatia nei e te Kuini hei kai hoko mona.

Ko te tuatoru

Hei wakaritenga mai hoki tenei mo te wakaaetanga ki te Kawanatanga o te Kuini – Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata maori katoa o Nu Tirani ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani.

(signed) William Hobson, Consul and Lieutenant-Governor.

Na ko matou ko nga Rangatira o te Wakaminenga o nga hapu o Nu Tirani ka huihui nei ki Waitangi ko matou hoki ko nga Rangatira o Nu Tirani ka kite nei i te ritenga o enei kupu, ka tangohia ka wakaaetia katoatia e matou, koia ka tohungia ai o matou ingoa o matou tohu.

Ka meatia tenei ki Waitangi i te ono o nga ra o Pepueri i te tau kotahi mano, e waru rau e wa te kau o to tatou Ariki.

The English version guaranteed ‘undisturbed possession’ of all their ‘properties’, but the Māori version guaranteed ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (full authority) over ‘taonga’ (treasures, which may be intangible). Māori understanding was at odds with the understanding of those negotiating the Treaty for the Crown, and as Māori society valued the spoken word, explanations given at the time were probably as important as the wording of the document.

HER MAJESTY VICTORIA Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland regarding with Her Royal Favor the Native Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and anxious to protect their just Rights and Property and to secure to them the enjoyment of Peace and Good Order has deemed it necessary in consequence of the great number of Her Majesty’s Subjects who have already settled in New Zealand and the rapid extension of Emigration both from Europe and Australia which is still in progress to constitute and appoint a functionary properly authorised to treat with the Aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty’s Sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands – Her Majesty therefore being desirous to establish a settled form of Civil Government with a view to avert the evil consequences which must result from the absence of the necessary Laws and Institutions alike to the native population and to Her subjects has been graciously pleased to empower and to authorise me William Hobson a Captain in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy Consul and Lieutenant-Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may be or hereafter shall be ceded to her Majesty to invite the confederated and independent Chiefs of New Zealand to concur in the following Articles and Conditions.

Article the first [Article 1]

The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.

Article the second [Article 2]

Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the third [Article 3]

In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.

(signed) William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor.

Now therefore We the Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand being assembled in Congress at Victoria in Waitangi and We the Separate and Independent Chiefs of New Zealand claiming authority over the Tribes and Territories which are specified after our respective names, having been made fully to understand the Provisions of the foregoing Treaty, accept and enter into the same in the full spirit and meaning thereof in witness of which we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified. Done at Waitangi this Sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.

Different understandings of the Treaty have long been the subject of debate. From the 1970s especially, many Māori have called for the terms of the Treaty to be honoured. Some have protested – by marching on Parliament and by occupying land. There have been studies of the Treaty and a growing awareness of its meaning in modern New Zealand.

It is common now to refer to the intention, spirit or principles of the Treaty. The Treaty of Waitangi is not considered part of New Zealand domestic law, except where its principles are referred to in Acts of Parliament. The exclusive right to determine the meaning of the Treaty rests with the Waitangi Tribunal, a commission of inquiry created in 1975 to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty by the Crown. More than 2000 claims have been lodged with the tribunal, and a number of major settlements have been reached.

See also a pdf version of the Treaty with explanatory footnotes by Professor Hugh Kawhar

 

Te Tii Marae off Waitangi welcoming duties

Te Tii Marae will be informed this morning they will no longer host official welcomes preceding Waitangi Day celebrations.

Newshub:  Te Tii Marae will no longer host Waitangi welcomes

A meeting will be held at Te Tii Marae this morning where trustees will be informed they will no longer host official welcome ceremonies for dignitaries and Members of Parliament.

Chairman of the Waitangi National Trust, Pita Paraone, says those ceremonies will instead be held at Te Whare Rūnanga, the upper marae at the Treaty grounds.

“I think there will be some resistance… so I just wanted to have the opportunity of speaking to them face to face,” he said.

Mr Paraone says although he received repeated requests in recent years to move the celebrations up to the Treaty grounds, the latest problems were the last straw.

“I’ve been reluctant to act on that request, but I think this year has brought it to the conclusion that we perhaps need to move the powhiri away from Te Tii Marae and allow them to just settle down and reflect on the consequences of what they chose to do this year.”

“People had respect for both our visitors and our taumata (elders) ,” Mr Paraone said. “Unfortunately that’s been lost over recent years and people have tended to forget what is the real intention of welcoming visitors. They seem to have forgotten that concept.”

Mr Paraone believes moving the ceremonies away from Te Tii Marae is the appropriate decision for the time being.

It had become an attention seeking farce, with no sign of any serious or effective effort to sort it out, so this change isn’t surprising.

Two remarkable speeches almost ignored

From Simon Wilson at The Spinoff:

PM Bill English gave two speeches on Waitangi Day. Both were remarkable. Both were almost entirely ignored

It’s good to see Wilson not ignoring them, but very poor of media generally – their obsession with trivia means they often miss important things.

The prime minister spent his first Waitangi Day in office not at the treaty grounds, but at Bastion Point, where Simon Wilson watched him give two of the most surprising Waitangi speeches in living memory.

Did you know Bill English used Waitangi Day to praise the great protest struggle of Bastion Point?

I didn’t know that until I saw Wilson’s article.

He made two speeches on the marae at Bastion Point that day, both of them in front of TV cameras and other media. Almost none of what he said got reported. Instead, there was a frenzy of excitement over his utterly inconsequential phone call with Donald Trump. But what the prime minister said on the marae at Bastion Point was extraordinary.

English chose not to go to Waitangi, preferring to attend a breakfast hosted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. When it came his turn to speak during the powhiri, which was held inside the wharenui, he began with a short mihi and then he said, “I want to tell you why I’ve come here, to this marae.”

He said it was because of what had been achieved by Ngāti Whātua and the manner of its achievement. He spoke directly to Joe Hawke, the much-loved Uncle Joe, the man who in 1976-78 led a 506-day protest “occupation” of the very land they were on that day.

He told them the modern history of Ngāti Whātua was a story of great success. And he wanted them to know he did not view the protest as an aberration in that story, but as a vital part of it. Later, over breakfast in the wharekai, he built on his theme.

There was a large audience – Ngāti Whātua, politicians, community representatives and media – and he said we are all engaged in a “great enterprise” of building a country based on “fairness, tolerance and respect”. Then he said, “We’ve all got better at it because of our struggles over the treaty.”

That’s true, but the general population has a way to go on this.

He said he knew what it cost the kaumātua who negotiated treaty settlements. At another iwi, one leader had told him he’d been unable to sleep the night before they signed. “He said he struggled with the burden of knowing he must say to his ancestors, ‘That’s enough.’ And he struggled with the responsibility of saying the same to his descendants.”

There are so many ways in which treaty settlements are different for Māori and Pākehā, and that’s one of them: Pākehā don’t think like that.

I don’t think Pākehā can think like that, but we can try to understand what it’ may be like. (See The soft and loud of “Pākehā” on ‘Pākehā’)

English also said, “Ngāti Whātua’s future is New Zealand’s future.” It wasn’t a mere platitude about diverse peoples coming together in national unity. He was pointing specifically to the economic and cultural importance of iwi to whole country.

“In the regions,” he said, “and I include Auckland in that, I would say that almost without exception the organisations that are most committed to development are the local iwi.”

That’s another remarkable thing for him to say. Iwi are economic powerhouses in the regions and major agents of social cohesion. Despite what Don Brash and his band of Hobson’s Pledge ostriches might want us to think, they’re not stripping the country of its assets and infrastructure – they’re building them.

“But,” English added, speaking not just of iwi but of the government and the country as a whole, “much as we have good intentions the truth is we have not met our aspirations.” He cited domestic violence, educational underachievement and the high rate of imprisonment: “These things are the signs of failure.”

Failures that are a complex mix of personal responsibilities, societal responsibilities and Government responsibilities.

Which is why, he said, Whānau Ora is important. Whānau Ora, which empowers iwi and smaller communities within them to develop services and direct them where they are needed most. Whānau Ora, said English, “represents the best and truest chance of the next 20 to 30 years”.

The takeaways were provocative. First, have we ever before had a National Party prime minister who speaks so unequivocally in support of Māori agency – and of Māori activism that lays the foundation for Māori agency?

Second, if the Bastion Point protest was historically invaluable, what does that say for other protest movements today – inside Māoridom and more widely?

Third, if English will say these things on the marae, will he say them in Parliament, and in the regions, to business groups and to his own party – will he say them to audiences who are not already primed to agree? He’s a diffident leader, a quiet explainer more than an engaging winner of hearts and minds, and he’s as liable as most politicians to duck the difficult issues when it’s hard to stand up for them.

Wilson closed by saying it is not the Prime Minister’s fault if important things he says are not given the media coverage they deserve. But it’s a shame. What English said on Waitangi Day deserves exposure – those of us who are not Maori can learn and understand more about treaty issues,and we can learn more about what English is prepared to speak about as our Prime Minister.

Waitangi Day

Waitangi was the first place inn which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, beginning on 6 February 1840. It took until September to complete the signing as the treaty was taken around the country. Over 500 Maori signed it – and just the one non-Maori, on behalf of the Queen of England.

However you do Waitangi Day have a good one.