Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mike Butler: Advisors' 'rangatiratanga' error

Open letter to Bill English

I am writing to you as one Minister in charge of the Constitutional Advisory Panel to let you know that “New Zealand’s Constitution – the conversation so far”, released last week, includes a fundamental error in the assertion on page 9 that: "The treaty records an agreement that enabled the British to establish a government in New Zealand and confirmed to Maori the right to continue to exercise rangatiratanga".

This is incorrect. All the treaty actually says is that the Queen is sovereign and Maori are her subjects, with the rights of subjects, including possession of property. That is all, in both English and Maori versions. Since then, moreover, the Queen and her successors have exercised sovereignty for 172 years.

If you go back to the official English and Te Tiriti texts as posted on the Waitangi Tribunal website:

In 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" is phrased in Maori as "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".

And, in 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 . . " is phrased in Maori as "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".

These two texts show that "sovereignty" is translated into "kawanatanga" and "possession" into "rangatiratanga". The treaty's Article 1 refers to ceding sovereignty while Article 2 guarantees possession of their lands etc.

Nowhere in these two articles does the treaty "confirm to Maori the right to continue to exercise rangatiratanga". This is a distortion of the meaning of the treaty.

Could you please ask the Constitutional Advisory Panel to correct this error by replacing the phrase "The treaty records an agreement that enabled the British to establish a government in New Zealand and confirmed to Maori the right to continue to exercise rangatiratanga", with the phrase ""The treaty records an agreement in which the Queen is sovereign and Maori are her subjects, with the rights of subjects, including possession of property."

Mike Butler
New Zealand Centre for Political Research

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

You got that right!

Ray S said...

God luck with that one !

Barry said...

Forget the 'treaty'. It's
being used to destroy NZ, A real govt would just dump it NOW.

Anonymous said...

The Treaty should never be mentioned or referred to in any constitution that replaces our existing one. If as it appears the constitution forming process is hijacked and we have no choice but to include it, then it is up to people like Mike Butler, (with our support) to at least ensure the interpretation is fair for all NZ'ers. Especially no enshrining of the current special rights for Maori.
Jonathan

over it said...

A collection of my thoughts.

Pre-european settlement Moari had no concept of preserving for future generations. Case in point being the Moa.

One forgets the wholesale slaughter of other tribes and slavery was the norm.

The fact that radio frequencies even existed was completely unknown yet they claim money there as well.

Water had no commercial value or ownership.

Money can now help start a grieving process (Gisborne).

Imagine a NZ European Allblacks, and Europeans wouldn't want such blatent racism anyway.

If you voted for MMP, We are all now reaping the results sadly.

That old car I sold for bugger all a few years back is worth a bit more now, I wonder if I should claim a final settlement for a bit more cash now as I used to own it.

Its long overdue for the majority who dislike the current race based divisive nature of a vocal group of professional claimants to have some national meetings as well.

Lee ABADAM said...

John Key and his Govt. will go down in history as the most divisive thing to happen to this country EVER!!!
He "panders" to Maori to win votes.
Water rights? Air rights? Beach rights? Fishing rights? Maori customary rights? etc etc...
What about Pakeha customary rights????? FFS!!! European NZ'landers what are WE doing???? Rolling over and playing dead???

Nick Nikora said...

In case you have not received my earlier comment regarding this post. I have some major concerns regarding your interpretations of Articles 1 and 2 of the Maori text of the Treaty. Whether this is due to your lack of knowledge of the Maori language or if this is an attempt to mis-lead or distort the facts is what concerns me.

Let's set the facts straight.

Article 1 of Te Tiriti text is as follows; 'Ko nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa hoki ki hau i uru ki taua wakaminenga ka tuku rawa atu ki te Kuini o Ingarani ake tonu atu-te Kawanatanga katoa o o ratou wenua'. The English translation is as follows; 'The Chiefs of the Confederation and the Chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete governance over their land'. The Maori text uses the word 'kawanatanga' meaning government instead of 'mana' meaning sovereignty.

Article 2 of Te Tiriti text qualifies things even further; Article 2; 'Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangatira ki nga hapu - ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirini te 'tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa'. The English translation; 'The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the sub-tribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their 'chieftainship' over their lands, their villages and all their treasures'.

Article 2 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi clearly confirms to Maori the right to continue to exercise rangatiratanga over their lands, villages and treasures.

Mike, you have distorted the true meaning of Articles 1 and 2 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi either knowlingly or unknowingly therefore I ask that this post be corrected or removed from the public domain. Your credibility and that of NZCPR depends on it.

Nick Nikora

Mike Butler said...

Nick, my explanation is quite clear.

The treaty was drafted in English and translated into Maori.

At Waitangi on February 5, 1840, Hobson read the English language text of the treaty, missionary Henry Williams read the Maori text, and during the subsequent debate involving numerous people fluent in English and Maori, there was no clamour about gross discrepancies between the English and Maori texts.

The two texts show that "sovereignty" was translated into "kawanatanga" and "possession" into "rangatiratanga". The treaty's Article 1 refers to ceding sovereignty while Article 2 guarantees possession of their lands etc

The extensive discussion and debate at Waitangi revolved around British law, Governor William Hobson having the ability to restrain lawless British subjects, protection, and land ownership.

The treaty was discussed into the night and by the morning of the next day, the chiefs were ready to sign, which was before Hobson expected.

Your assertion that the Maori text uses the word 'kawanatanga' meaning government instead of 'mana' meaning sovereignty appears beside the point because the issue of the governor having power over the chiefs was extensively discussed and the chiefs decided they could go along with that because of the benefits that came with it.

The use of the word "chieftainship" to translate "rangatiratanga" first appeared in the translation of the Maori text done by T.E. Young of the Native Department in 1869, a full 29 years after the treaty was signed and nine years after a number of chiefs who had signed the treaty reconfirmed, at the 1860 Kohimarama Conference, their willingness to cede sovereignty.

Therefore, your request for me to change this post or take it down is rejected.

The Waitangi Tribunal has distorted the meaning of Articles 1 and 2 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi through adopting an interpretation that both cedes and does not cede sovereignty, which is nonsense.

You are parroting the Waitangi Tribunal line.

The Waitangi Tribunal refuses to discuss this issue. I suggest the WT won't discuss it because it forms the basis of a billion dollar business from which tribunal members and numerous claimants benefit.

Nick Nikora said...

Mike, perhaps I should leave the last word on this to the old Chief Noepera Panakareao, Chief of the Rarawa who had this to say when he came to sign the Treaty. "It is the shadow of the land which had been given to the Queen while the soil remains".

Here is an explanation of what the old chief meant by these words from Sir A.T. Ngata; "The shadow, that is, the main authority of the land is the power to make laws. That was ceded to the Queen in Article 1".

"As for the soil, that is ours inherited from our ancestors. Article 2 firmly established this to the Maori people". What was firmly established? Tino rangatiratanga chiefly rule.

So, it is not the Waitangi Tribunal that has distorted Articles 1 and 2, it is you.

Nick Nikora

Source

'The Treaty of Waitangi - An Explanation' by the Hon. Sir Apirana Ngata, Ma; LL.B; Lit.D

Nick Nikora said...

Rangatiratanga was the word used in the Maori version for full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands, estates, forests, fisheries and other properties. Now look at the adverbs 'exclusive and undisturbed' they mean more than just possession. Maori understood Rangatiratanga to mean the right to rule and make laws in their own tribal lands and waters. This is what the old chief Noepera Panakareao meant when he said; "It is the shadow of the land which had been given to the Queen while the soil remains". He firmly believed that Maori still had the right to exercise chiefly authority in their own areas, while the Queen exercised authority over the whole country. Think of it in terms of countries that have both a federal system and a state system of government such as Australia and the United States. Besides, this was 1840 at a time when Maori outnumbered Europeans by 100 to one. How was the Queen going to enforce Crown rule? Busby, Williams and the Chiefs realised that. The conflict that broke out in the 1860's was I believe a direct result of Maori determination to exercise 'tino rangatiratanga' as promised under Article 2 of the Treaty.

I would also like to comment upon your last point regarding the Waitangi Tribunal being a billion dollar industry. It might interest you that since 1992 23 claims have been settled by the government for a total of $952 million.

Now compare that when the government recently bailed out South Canterbury Finance to the tune of $1.7 billion due to fraud and the government bailed out AMI Finance with a $500 million due to shonky business practices.

Do I hear condemnation from you and your colleagues from NZCPR over the use of taxpayers money being used in this manner? Not yet I haven't.

In conclusion the genie is out of the bottle regarding the Treaty and the Maori seats there's no way its going back in. My advice to you and your fellow members of NZCPR let's move forward instead of trying to turn the clock back that will only lead to conflict.

Nick Nikora

Mike Butler said...

Nick, Sir Apirana Ngata’s explanation of Noepera Panakareao’s comment that "it is the shadow of the land which had been given to the Queen while the soil remains” is quite straight forward.

But when you assert that “what was firmly established was tino rangatiratanga chiefly rule”, you overlook the second part of Article 2 and jump to the post-1985 interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.
In Maori, the second sentence in Article 2 says “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”.
In English, this says “But the chiefs of the Confederation of United Tribes and the other chiefs grant to the Queen, the exclusive rights of purchasing such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to sell at such prices as may be agreed upon between them and the person appointed by the Queen to purchase from them”.

In other words, the treaty confirmed that the chiefs owned the land they asserted rights to but were able to sell it to a government agent. Land sales before the treaty was signed were to be investigated. Land sold ceased to be Maori land since the purchaser became the new owner. Chiefs could no longer be chiefs over the land that they sold.

The Waitangi Tribunal, and you, appear to adopt the view that even though chiefs sold land they asserted rights over, they were still entitled to behave as chiefs over that land.

Evidence that the tribunal holds that view is that the tribunal asserts that the “loss of rangatiratanga”, which includes the loss of resources, and the exclusion of Maori from the decision-making institutions, is the No. 1 grievance, and on that basis alone millions of dollars of compensation have been paid.

You claim that I am distorting Articles 1 and 2, but I have shown you that the WT is distorting the treaty. Tribunal members and claimants benefit from this distortion.

Proceeding to your second comment, as I said before, the Maori word “rangatiratanga” was used to translate the English word for “possession” or “ownership”.

You say that “rangatiratanga was the word used in the Maori version for full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands, estates, forests, fisheries and other properties”. Are you aware that the phrase you quoted does not appear in the Maori text of Te Tiriti signed by the chiefs?

Mike Butler said...

Part 2.
Based on the phrase “exclusive and undisturbed”, that does not appear in Te Tiriti, you go on to argue that “rangatiratanga” must mean more than “possession”.

Unfortunately, all we have to go by are two texts, with the English word “possession” translated into “rangatiratanga”. Everything other than what the people involved said or did is supposition. Therefore, your “rangatiratanga” argument is only supposition. It would not stand up in court.

You continue to assert that Nopera firmly believed that Maori still had the right to exercise chiefly authority in their own areas, while the Queen exercised authority over the whole country. Is there evidence to support this?

Evidence could be found in where Nopera stood when the issue of chiefly authority versus government authority escalated to armed conflict in the first Taranaki war 20 years after the treaty was signed. In fact, Nopera was on the side of the colonial government and spoke out strongly in support of colonial government actions when he attended the 1860 Kohimarama conference.

In other words, the chief you are quoting to support your separatist argument was not a separatist.

You ask “in 1840, at a time when Maori outnumbered Europeans by 100 to one, how was the Queen going to enforce Crown rule?” This occurred by agreement until apparent breaches of the treaty by Maori, as in the Flagstaff war, Taranaki, and Waikato, required force.

You say that since 1992, 23 claims have been settled by the government for a total of $952-million and dispute my “billion dollar industry” claim. However, financial redress alone in the completed settlements totals $1.509-billion. See http://www.nzcpr.com/TreatyTransparencyResearchReport2012.pdf

You are not the first to cite the finance company bailouts in a “what’s good for them must also be good for us” argument. But the only similarity between the two is the free money from the government.

Finance company bailouts resulted from a hastily conceived deposit guarantee scheme, a government’s knee-jerk reaction to the global financial crisis which involved insuring deposits made by people who had saved their pennies.

The free money in treaty settlements results from a poorly conceived scheme to pay compensation to silence complaints, an earlier government’s response to Maori nationalist protest.

With nine grievances in 1882 and 2034 claims in 2009, it is obvious grievances were conjured up because free money was on the table since 1985, when claims were allowed back to 1840. Any investigation of any of the claims shows the historical basis for the grievance is flimsy at best.

Your final piece of advice “to move forward instead of trying to turn the clock back that will only lead to conflict” reads like a veiled threat. Are treaty settlements moving us forward, or taking us back? I would say they are dragging us back. The increasing pace and content of settlements have increased tribalist demands, and it appears little has been settled.

Nick, I am not causing this conflict. I could stop writing about this, but conflict will escalate. Who will you blame then?

Nick Nikora said...

Mike, if you say that Nopera Parakareao's comment is quite straight forward then perhaps you would like to give me an explanation as to what he was saying.

You said; "You appear to adopt the view that even though chiefs sold land they asserted rights over, they were still entitled to behave as chiefs over that land". That is your opinion Mike not mine.

You are deliberately confusing 'loss of rangatiratanga' in regards to land either confiscated,acquired through deception and land sold legitimately.

Your next point - Article Two of Te Tiriti in part reads; "te Tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa". The Maori Chiefs understood that to mean the exclusive and undisturbed possession, or 'tino rangatiratanga'of their land, their villages and their property. Which lead to Nopera Panakareao's comment about the soil remaining with Maori. This argument would not stand up in court? I would strongly wager that it would have every chance of succeeding in court.

You used the word 'separatist' not me.

Apparent breaches of the Treaty in Taranaki and Waikato by Maori. Nonsense! The Taranaki conflict was caused by the devious dealings of government land agent Donald McLean and the Waikato conflict was caused by Governor Grey's decision to build a road through South Auckland into the Waikato heartland. This was clearly a provocative act and a breach of Article Two of the Treaty.

Since 1992 23 treaty claims have been settled totalling $952 million.
Source: http://www.ots.govt.nz

You said; "Any investigation of any of the claims shows the historical basis for the grievances is flimsy at best". I have searched through the records of the Maori Land Court in the Rotorua, Hamilton and Gisborne districts they provide ample evidence of wrong doings involving land dealings with Maori. A further example of this was the confiscation of 460,000 acres of land in the Eastern Bay of Plenty for the murder of the Reverend Carl Volkner. Nearly 60 years later the Simm Commission found that the punishment inflicted on Maori at the time was excessive.

Finally, I would say that treaty settlements are moving us forward. The only issue is the resistance from powerful interest groups such as Federated Farmers and the Business Roundtable who see Maori as rivals for control of New Zealand's resources.

Nick Nikora

Mike Butler said...

Nick, when you say that treaty settlements are moving us forward, who makes up the "us"?

Since You have confirmed that you don't believe chiefs remained entitled to behave as chiefs over land they had sold, what would chiefs be able to continue to behave as chiefs over, as the Waitangi Tribunal claims?

What does the phrase "loss of rangatiratanga" mean to you?

The main quasi-legal body that uses the “rangatiratanga” argument is the Waitangi Tribunal, and that argument only proceeds if you ignore that the word “rangatiratanga” translated "possession", adopt a back-translated meaning of “rangatiratanga” to mean "chieftainship", and then go on to assert that the treaty guaranteed "chieftainship" even though sovereignty was ceded in the first article.

Taranaki and Waikato are long stories. You should read "Waikato-Tainui -- Where money acknowledges the crime" http://www.nzcpr.com/TreatyTransparencyResearchReport2012.pdf

The same link takes you to a table that shows 34 settlements have been completed and at least 47 to go. You should look at more up-to-date figures.

The Waitangi Tribunal rates "loss of rangatiratanga" ahead of land sales and confiscations.

Two more questions for you: 1. How many times have the Waikato-Tainui grievances been settled? 2. How many times has the Ngai Tahu grievance been settled?

Nick Nikora said...

Treaty settlements are moving New Zealand forward as a country that recognises that wrongs were committed in the past and it's time to settle up. The only ones who don't share that view are Federated Farmers and the Business Roundtable. These two groups once wielded enormous power and influence in New Zealand and this is now being challenged by Maori.

What does tino rangatiratanga mean as stated in Article 2 of Te Tiriti? I refer back to the old chief Nopera Panakareao when he said; "The shadow of the land had been given to the Queen while the soil remains". What was the old chief saying? In essence he was saying; "that the British had gained only nominal sovereignty, or governorship, of the country while Maori retained chieftainship or tino rangatiratanga over their lands, villages and treasures".
Source: 'The Treaty of Waitangi - An Explanation' by Sir A.T Ngata

I won't comment specifically on Waikato-Tainui or Ngai Tahu. However, I will comment on Te Whakatohea in the Eastern Bay of Plenty as it has some relevance to the tribal groups you mentioned. In short the Whakatohea claim had first been settled in 1927 when the Royal Commission or Simm Commission recommended an annual payment of 300 pounds. 300 pounds a year. Was the Commission joking after 460,000 acres of land was confiscated? The Whakatohea elders turned down this offer. What they wanted was either the return of their land or a much better compensation payout. After World War 2 the tribal elders relented and accepted the 300 pound annual payment which had been eroded by inflation. Talks with the government continued throughout the 1950's, 60's, 70's and 80's. The Labour government of the 1980's allowed Maori land grievances back dated to 1840 to be seriously addressed. In 1997 the Whakatohea had almost reached a deal with the government with a settlement sum of $40 million that was rejected by the tribe.

This case has relevance because many tribes were forced to accept settlement figures way below the true value of the assets that were taken from them.

Mike Butler said...

Nick, treaty settlements are moving New Zealand backwards, and here is why. Investigation of each alleged wrong takes claimants, the Waitangi Tribunal, the Office of Treaty Settlements, the Cabinet, the entire parliament, and eventually every taxpayer, back to the past, to the date of that alleged wrong.

Financial redress is taken from taxpayers, who had no part in any wrong, if in fact a wrong was actually committed, and paid to a newly incorporated tribal body made up of a number of claimants, none of whom had any historical injustice perpetrated against them, and most of whom have a tenuous relationship with those people who lived in the past and allegedly had some wrong perpetrated upon them. Many claimants have more blood of the colonisers than of the colonised.

Unfortunately, the allure of free stuff by way of treaty settlements has created a cargo-cult mentality, so that claimants focus on the coming shipload of treasure and neglect to take advantage of the opportunities that surround them, opportunities that could bring much more personal wealth.

The process has taken 23 years so far, and we are about half way through, so by the time it is over, if it in fact is completed, two generations would have spent their lives waiting for the free stuff to be delivered.

You write about recognising that wrongs were committed in the past and it's time to settle up. The unfortunate reality is that the Waitangi Tribunal investigates in great detail alleged wrongs by the colonial government, and where there were no wrongs, imaginary wrongs are conjured up. Wrongs and treaty breaches committed by chiefs are either ignored or explained away.

Regarding your "rangatiratanga" argument, when you say "In essence he was saying; 'that the British had gained only nominal sovereignty, or governorship, of the country while Maori retained chieftainship or tino rangatiratanga over their lands, villages and treasures'", you are putting words into Sir Apirana Ngata's mouth. He wrote no such thing in "The Treaty of Waitangi - An Explanation".

Regarding sovereignty, on pages 15-16 Ngata wrote "What was it that the Maori Chiefs ceded? . . .It was this chiefly authority held by each chief who subscribed his mark to the Treaty of Waitangi that each chief ceded to the common weal and to Governor William Hobson, as an offering to Queen Victoria."

Regarding the second article, Ngata wrote "What is this authority, this sovereignty that is referred to in the second article? It is quite clear, the right of a Maori to his land, to his property, to his individual right to such possessions".

So there you have it Nick, I am not making stuff up. I am presenting an accurate analysis of the meaning and intent of the treaty as signed in 1840, confirmed in 1860 at Kohimarama, and re-confirmed by Sir Apirana Ngata in 1922.

Regarding Te Whakatohea in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, in the Finance No. 2 Act, on October 12, 1946, the government settled with the tribe for a lump sum payment of £20,000. The issue was land confiscation -- 144,000 acres (58,000 hectares) of Te Whakat┼Źhea land was confiscated under the New Zealand Settlements Act, 1863. Your guess of 460,000 acres is wildly inaccurate.

You give part of the story about Te Whakatohea. The Encyclopaedia of NZ fails to mention the £20,000 lump sum payment, but it does say that the confiscation was a result of the murder of missionary Carl Volkner by Hauhau-Pai Marire fanatatics at Opotiki on March 2, 1865. He was hanged, beheaded, his blood drained into a communion chalice and passed around to be drunk. Lead fanatatic Kereopa Te Rau swallowed Volkner's eyes.

You also fail to mention that the North Island was in a decade of armed conflict that started in Taranaki in 1860, moved to Waitkato in 1863, and over to the Bay of Plenty and the East Coast in 1865. Land confiscation was part of the colonial government strategy to end a war that it could under no circumstances afford to lose.

Happy to debate this with you Nick.