Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mike Butler: It’s bribe-a-tribe day



Big dollar amounts are being bandied about after Prime Minister John Key used his main national day speech to bribe Ngapuhi, New Zealand’s biggest tribe, into settling their grievances with the Crown. It’s election year and the lolly scramble has just begun.

Key offered an interim financial payment to “incentivise” the 125,000-member tribe to settle quickly. Ngapuhi runanga chair Sonny Tau gave a figure of $500-$600-million as he responded.

In terms of scale, the largest tribal settlements to date are $170-million, and those were to Waikato-Tainui (40,083 members), Ngai Tahu (54.819), and Tuhoe (34,890). (1)

Why would Ngapuhi demand such a large amount? Were they treated more than three times worse, and did they suffer to a much greater extent? A clue may be found in advice from the Office of Treaty Settlements to claimants.

In explaining the factors that determine the size of a payment, known as the quantum, in a letter to claimants, the Treaty Settlements Office notes that primary factors include:

1. The amount of land “lost” in a claimant area,
2. The nature of alleged treaty breaches,
3. Benchmarks set by existing settlements of similar grievances.

Secondary factors include:

1. The population of the claimant group today,
2. Whether there are overlapping claims,
3. Any other special factors a claimant group thinks necessary.(2)

Note the use of the word “lost” to describe land in a tribe’s area that is no longer owned by the tribe. A more accurate word is “sold”. Ngapuhi forebears sold their land both since 1840 and before 1840.

Land sales in the north before 1840 were substantial. The Waitangi Tribunal’s National Overview report on Auckland provides a total of 491 such transactions in the area from the Auckland isthmus to Cape Reinga that were investigated by government land sale commissioners shortly after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.(3)

So what are Ngapuhi grievances?

The only grievance listed on the list that chiefs took to Queen Victoria in 1882 that could be connected to Ngapuhi was a war in the north waged by Hone Heke and Kawiti in 1845 against the government.(4) Heke and Kawiti were defeated. Ngapuhi had no land confiscated.

Ngapuhi claim that they did not cede sovereignty when Ngapuhi forebears signed the treaty. Unfortunately for that argument, at least 29 Ngapuhi chiefs signed the treaty on February 6, 1840.

They signed the treaty after a debate in which it was clear that the Queen and Governor would be superior to the chiefs. According to eye-witness William Colenso, a missionary, at that debate, chief Te Kemara showed what he understood about chiefs ceding sovereignty when he said: “’Yes; ' but for the Governor to be up and Te Kemara down -Governor high up, up, up, and Te Kemara down low”. (5)

Moreover, the British government gained the sovereignty over New Zealand not only through cession by treaty, but through proclamation, through occupation, and, if the defeats of tribes who took up arms against the government from 1845 through the 1860s is to be considered, by conquest.

Mr Tau’s demand for up to $600-million gives the appearance that Ngapuhi just wants money, and lots of it. From the Office of Treaty Settlements advice to claimants detailed above, we can now conclude that treaty settlements have little to do with actual treaty breaches by the government. They are simply pay-offs to tribes calculated by tribal population and area.

The Ngapuhi tribal area is less than one million hectares, occupied by only 13 percent of the Ngapuhi population. Most Ngapuhi live in South Auckland.

Key’s offer of an “on account” payment to settle with Ngapuhi looks like an election-year inducement. Ngapuhi theatrics and demands look like a negotiating ploy to crank up the dollars.

Waitangi Day 2014 will be remembered as “bribe a tribe day”.

Sources
1 2013 Quick Stats about Maori, http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/quickstats-about-maori-english.aspx
2. Quantum Factors for He Toa Takatini, http://www.hetoatakitini.iwi.nz/uploads///Quantum_factors_for_He_Toa_Takitini_Letter-_5_September_2013.pdf
3. Old land claims, Rangahaua Whanui District 1, http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/waitangi-tribunal/documents/rangahaua-research-reports/auckland-part-1/view, p74
4. Struggle without end, Ranginui Walker, Penguin 1990, p162.
5. William Colenso's Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, http://www.waitangi.com/colenso/colhis1.html

9 comments:

Cpt747 said...

...just another act of continued 'Treason' by the Key/Finlayson govt. Arrogant thieving and racist actions by the 'neo-tribal part- Maori anachronistic quasi-tribes. Pathetic, as you say over and over again. The main stream media refuse to print a message like yours and this reply....All New Zealanders are being totally 'ripped off' . A Nation well and truly DIVIDED is with us right now...Key/Finlayson have totally betrayed us ... Roll On "Extreme Racism..."

Barry said...

I think that if Key had any integrity and if he were a real prime minister he would just tell that Stone Age so-called "tribe" to get lost.

Brian said...

As the vogue in this country is to change all European name places back to Maori, perhaps the Government in such a generous mood might designate a change from New Zealand to New Wai-Gelded.
Tourist brochures should inform potential visitors that this country is unique, the only country worldwide that sanctifies the use of Blackmail, conditionally for indigenous use only.
Waitangi could then be renamed Screwtangi; applicable mainly in an election year, when all Tribes reassess their demands in monetary terms (plus support for the next administration) for the next three years.
When settlements are finally concluded, after the first 100% Indigenous Government has been installed in the newly built Pa on the original old Treaty grounds. All the appointed delegates from the tribes will assemble to hear that the total debt now exceeds any chance the tribal government can have, of re-re-re-mortgaging the Thermal area at Rotorua! (Even the Chinese are not interested)
Tribal Leaders therefore urge complete nationalization of the assets of all non Maori still living in the country, and those residing in the outside world. (Beyond the foreshore and seabed!)
The Phrase “Let’s do a Zimbabwe” has been adopted as the catch word, and the expected endorsement will be forthcoming courtesy of the new Waka Dream Air Liner from The Indigenous Assembly of the United Nations in due course.
2030. 1420 hrs. 5 January.
Then I woke up, and found it was true!!!!!
Brian

Brian said...

As the vogue in this country is to change all European name places back to Maori, perhaps the Government in such a generous mood might designate a change from New Zealand to New Wai-Gelded.
Tourist brochures should inform potential visitors that this country is unique, the only country worldwide that sanctifies the use of Blackmail, conditionally for indigenous use only.
Waitangi could then be renamed Screwtangi; applicable mainly in an election year, when all Tribes reassess their demands in monetary terms (plus support for the next administration) for the next three years.
When settlements are finally concluded, after the first 100% Indigenous Government has been installed in the newly built Pa on the original old Treaty grounds. All the appointed delegates from the tribes will assemble to hear that the total debt now exceeds any chance the tribal government can have, of re-re-re-mortgaging the Thermal area at Rotorua! (Even the Chinese are not interested)
Tribal Leaders therefore urge complete nationalization of the assets of all non Maori still living in the country, and those residing in the outside world. (Beyond the foreshore and seabed!)
The Phrase “Let’s do a Zimbabwe” has been adopted as the catch word, and the expected endorsement will be forthcoming courtesy of the new Waka Dream Air Liner from The Indigenous Assembly of the United Nations in due course.
2030. 1420 hrs. 5 January.
Then I woke up, and found it was true!!!!!
Brian

Wayne Williams said...

Well written and researched. It is worse than I thought and gets messier by the day.
When my forebears settled in Onehunga in the 1840's and purchased 25 acres of farmland, it was the start of their dream but when my great, great grandmother was widowed, Governor Gray had their land (all but one acre) confiscated to the State because a widow could not be a land-owner. Her protest in the Governor's office resulted in a further taking of half an acre leaving her with just half an acre. There is no access to the Waitangi Treaty grievance Tribunal and so we have been just hard done by with no right of redress. the playing field has never been level.

Wayne Williams

Dave said...

I wonder if our new 'Maori Millionaires' will start suing other tribal Maori millionaires. For example the Napuhi raiding party's who roamed the country committing wholesale slaughter, cannibalism and slavery to other tribes, Napuhi killed thousands of Te Arawa in a raid on Rotorua in the 1820s, all recorded by the missionary's who watched on helplessly.
Another example was Te Rauparaha who must have rivaled later tyrants, Hitler and Stalin. From the Waikato Kawhia area during the 1830s he invaded and slaughtered tribes amongst others, in the Taranaki, Wanganui, Horowhenua, Wellington and top of the South Island with impunity. When fighting the Muaupoko tribe near Levin Te Rauparaha was reported to have said 'we will kill them all from dusk to dawn' the tribe was massacred without mercy.
Makes the British colonial government look like fairy godmothers!
Of course Maori choose to ignore their own brutal history and wrongs because up until now it was the Europeans who had the checkbook. But surely its time for Maori to start the compensation gravy train among their own race... or is this a yeah right moment.

Clive McDonald said...

I am sure it was Winston Peters who said New Zealand First would cancel the Treaty of Waitangi Claims when they become the Government. What are we waiting for? Vote New Zealand First in the coming election and stop all the nonsense!!!

Anonymous said...

In the late 1990's, two principal Auckland maraes took an action to the High Court in an attempt to give tribal recognition to the many, many thousands of South Auckland and West Auckland Maori people, who had, over the years, lost all knowledge of their tribal connections. This problem was also caused by many inter-tribal marriages over the years, so later generations had no particular tribal affiliations or loyalty. The High Court action was rigorously opposed by the established Maori tribes, and the case to declare this special tribe was lost. I believe that many, many of these people still have no idea of their tribal affiliations, and they therefore have no chance of benefiting from Treaty claims. They are a lost people, and they should have won their case, especially now as they see those who remained in the tribal areas benefit so much, while their parents and grandparents migrated to Auckland to work, thereby contributing to the economy. I consider their loss of the claim to be one of the great injustices of our time.

Peter Pearson said...

Maori tribal structures are based on a cast system similar to Indian society. At the top are the chiefs and their families and at the bottom are the untouchables, the workers,slaves and captives. One grovels to those on the levels above you, and shit on those below you.
Prior to the introduction of benefits in the fifties and sixties they all remained on the Maraes and some settlements. There was no where else to go. With the advent of child allowances, unemployment benefits, family benefits, state housing, and capitalisation of family benefits, the lower levels of families fled to the cities.
These are the unconnected urban maori.