Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mike Butler: Ngapuhi report reason to can tribunal

A report by the Waitangi Tribunal that argues Ngapuhi chiefs did not agree to cede sovereignty is deeply flawed and provides further evidence that the tribunal should be abolished.

The report that was released on Friday, He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti The Declaration and the Treaty: The Report on Stage 1 of the Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry, is the first stage of the tribunal's inquiry into Far North treaty claims and looks at events before 1840. (1)

Ngapuhi leader David Rankin, a descendent of chief Hone Heke who was the first to sign the treaty, said that the tribunal's emphasis on the Declaration of Independence, which a few had signed in 1835, as being the basis of their relationship with the British, is a lie and that is not what the tribunal was told. (2)

Attorney-General and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson was quick to say: "There is no question that the Crown has sovereignty in New Zealand. This report doesn't change that fact." (3)

Treaty specialist Professor Paul Moon from the Auckland University of Technology was shocked by some statements in the report that he said "This is not a concern about some trivial detail, but over the fundamental history of our country, which the tribunal has got manifestly wrong." (4)

This stage 1 report is a rambling affair comprising eight chapters, and introduction, and a conclusion, Chapter headlines are: Two Peoples Two Worlds, From Encounter to Alliance? He Whakaputanga and the Declaration of Independence, Contested Ground, The British Move towards Annexation, The Negotiation and Signing of te Tiriti, Past Perspectives on te Tiriti and the Treaty, and Claimant and Crown Evidence and Submissions.

The assertion that chiefs did not agree to cede sovereignty is not new and is basic Waitangi Tribunal dogma that flows from the academic Ngati Whatua claimant Sir Hugh Kawharu, who re-translated and reinterpreted of the Treaty of Waitangi to fit claimant aspirations.

Without getting into the details of the semantic twisting involved in this reinterpretation (See claimants argued that “the Crown would have authority only over Pakeha, or over territories that rangatira released to the Crown, while rangatira would retain authority in relation to their own communities”. (5)

Bear in mind that Article 1 of the treaty, and this includes Maori text, official English, Littlewood, and Kawharu reinterpretation, says chiefs agree to cede sovereignty, Article 2 guarantees chiefs possession of their property and the right to sell to a person appointed by the Queen, and Article 3 extends to Maori protection and rights as British subjects.

In short, claimants and the Waitangi Tribunal assert that chiefs did not cede sovereignty when the words written clearly on all treaty texts plainly shows that they did and was what they signed up to.

Claimants argue that the chiefs did not understand what they were signing despite an eye-witness account on the February 5, 1840, treaty debate written by pro-Maori missionary William Colenso which described how chief Tareha said: “No Governor for me – for us native men. We, we only are the chiefs, ruler. We will not be ruled over.” (6)

Claimants told the inquiry that “oral traditions provided better evidence of rangatira intentions in 1835 and 1840 than nineteenth-century accounts written by Pakeha”, and "we should give general preference to the evidence of claimant witnesses, because they were the experts on Maori understandings of the declaration and treaty".

Considerable effort went into discrediting Colenso’s eye-witness account with no mention of the “Chinese whispers” problem of oral tradition, in that details of the account are freely altered in each telling to suit the occasion and the audience.

It must be stressed that the “chiefs didn’t cede sovereignty” claim should not be regarded as anything more than grandstanding, or making a big impression to get the biggest response.

The reason I say this is that the Crown has already conceded (7) that everything previous governments did in relation to Ngapuhi was outstandingly bad, shocking even, and Prime Minister John Key indicated his willingness on Waitangi Day of this year to put several hundred million to settle the Ngapuhi claim.

As first adopters of the new age Ngapuhi were the first to benefit, and benefit they did by selling vast swathes of land for stuff they could have never imagined before the wicked white coloniser arrived. Armed conflict in 1845-6 left 94 anti-government Maori and 84 government fighters dead. There were no land confiscations as in Taranaki or Waikato.

Stage one of the Ngapuhi inquiry provides further evidence that the Waitangi Tribunal must be abolished.

1. Maori-only complaint body creates race fault line:

A body that divides citizens along a Maori/non-Maori fault line conflicts with the assumed underlying simple principle that in a democracy like New Zealand all citizens must be treated the same under the law.

There was a massive cheer at the presentation of the report in Waitangi, when the finding that rangatira who signed the treaty had not ceded sovereignty was read out, according to Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis, who added that "While some 'red necks' might view the report as Maori separatism, he believed it could have the opposite effect and bring people together. (8)

How can a report that treats citizens differently according to race, and elicits such a jingoistic response at flax roots level, bring people together?

2. Tribunal rewrites history:

David Rankin says the Tribunal report defames the memory of of his ancestor Hone Heke, and of his whanau’s oral histories, and that if the tribunal refuses to alter the report to reflect the testimony he provided at the hearing, he will lodge a Treaty claim against the tribunal itself. (9)

3. The tribunal is biased:

The report said “claimants told us they wanted an inquiry process that aligned with their understanding of both the declaration and the treaty” and “claimants suggested we hold our inquiry in two parts, with the first solely dedicated to understandings of the meaning and effect of the declaration and the treaty.

Instead of acting as a body established to settle certain types of dispute, the tribunal combined claimant testimony with treaty principles to create a persuasive argument advocating for claimants.

4. Tribunal activities undermine private property rights:

Waitangi leader Kingi Taurua told a Stage II hearings of the Northland Inquiry last year that the government to use the Treaty's pre-emption clause to buy back all land currently in private ownership but belonging to Ngati Kawa, Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Rehia, roughly equivalent to the greater Bay of Islands, as it came on to the market and then give it to the hapu. (10)

5. The tribunal is used to extract benefits for tribes:

The tribunal was promoted as an avenue for Maori to air grievances rather than resorting to protest action, and as providing an economic base for Maoridom.

But, as Rankin says: Do you think the average Maori sees any benefit from this? None at all. I have been asked several times to be on trust boards and have been offered large sums of money to do so. I refuse. History will judge the kupapa (traitors) who have abandoned our people for money.

The hearings were held before an inquiry panel comprising Judge Craig Coxhead (Ngati Makino, Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Maru, Ngati Awa), a judge of the Maori Land Court, as presiding officer; Joanne Morris; Kihi Ngatai (Ngaiterangi and Ngati Ranginui); Professor Ranginui Walker (Whakatohea); Keita Walker (Ngati Porou); and Professor Richard Hill (Victoria University of Wellington).

1. He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti The Declaration and the Treaty: The Report on Stage 1 of the Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry,
2. David Rankin on the Waitangi Tribunal decision,
3. Maori did not give up sovereignty: Waitangi Tribunal,
4. Ibid.
5. Introduction,
6. William Colenso at Waitangi.
7. Crown admits Treaty breaches,Northern Advocate, August 6, 2012.
8. Maori did not give up sovereignty: Waitangi Tribunal,
9. David Rankin on the Waitangi Tribunal decision,
10. Call to buy and return land to hapu, Northland Age, March 21, 2013.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike as always. David Rankin will go down in history as one of the only honest modern Maori leaders. It is a badge of honour that he is dismissed as a wacko
by the crooks.

paul scott said...

I can not see any progress with the present Government, on this or similar issues. It will take a Conservative input of at least 6% next election, with Government dependent on that support to change this his credit I think Winston tried . It is one thing Key will be remembered very badly for. Mind you where would the weakling Labour party fall on this stuff, in 2017.
There is time ahead for people to influence the Conservatives to float a sensible equaltarian New Zealand .
I think we will have racism for a long time yet. It is a sickness we have, a sickness of reverse discrimination.

ONZF said...

Treaty of Waitangi V Royal Charter/Letters Patent

Te Tiriti o Waitangi dated the 6th February 1840 was signed by “tangata Maori”.

“The traditions are quite clear on one point, whenever crew disembarked there were already tangata whenua (prior inhabitants). The canoe ancestors of the 14-century merged with these tangata whenua tribes”, Dr Ranganui Walker, 1986 New Zealand Year Book.

The Tiriti o Waitangi was “Done at Waitangi on the 6 February 1840” and was an agreement between Queen Victoria and the tangata Maori chiefs that gave Great Britain sovereignty over all the Islands of New Zealand under the dependency of New South Wales. Tangata Maori were given, “The same rights as the people of England”. Tiriti o Waitangi, Article 3.

"The treaty which forms the base of all my proceedings was signed at Waitangi on the 6 February 1840, by 52 chiefs, 26 of whom were of the federation, and formed a majority of those who signed the Declaration of Independence. This instrument I consider to be de facto the treaty, and all signatures that are subsequently obtained are merely testimonials of adherence to the terms of that original document". Lt. Governor Hobson.

No English version was signed on the 6 February 1840 and Hobson never authorised an English version of the Treaty of Waitangi to be signed by the tangata Maori chiefs. British Sovereignty over all the Islands of New Zealand was recognised by all other superpowers at the time, especially America and France that both had a very strong presence in New Zealand by 1840.

Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent Dated the 16th November 1840

Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent dated the 16 November 1840 superseded the Tiriti o Waitangi and separated New Zealand from New South Wales. New Zealand became an independent British Colony with its own Governor, Constitution and Government to make laws with Courts and Judges to enforce the Laws all under the watchful eye of Great Britain. The Royal Charter/Letters Patent came into force in New Zealand on the 3 May 1841. Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter is completely ignored by the Government. Te Papa and the Ministry of Justice do not even have a copy of the Royal Charter/Letters Patent, New Zealand’s True Founding Document and First Constitution.

The Waitangi Tribunal

The alleged Treaty of Waitangi claims have nothing to do with the Treaty of Waitangi, they were alleged breaches of New Zealand Laws and therefore should have been heard in a Court of Law as most where in the 1930’s & 40’s and were “fully and finally settled or rejected”. Since the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act which created the Waitangi Tribunal; the hearing of these claims have breached the Magna Carta, the Treaty of Waitangi, Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent and the Human Rights Act. Any alleged claim should have been heard in a Court of Law and under Court procedure where the claimants could be cross-examined which would have sorted out fact from fiction and would never have allowed the false claims such as the Te Roroa Treaty of Waitangi claim and many others to proceed based on distorted, manufactured and false evidence.

J S Russell said...

Does anyone else see the anomaly that Maori could not have retained their sovereignty and become British citizens at the same time. To be a citizen one automatically accepted the sovereignty of the British crown. This was explained fully to Maori and the dialogue and resistance by some are evidence of this at the time. The concession was they could retain their chieftainships but this could never extend beyond this framework and work at a national level. Maori, a people fiercely independent of each other, were not on an equal footing with Britain nor did they imagine themselves to be. They knew they had no basis in 1840 to insist on sovereignty and the really great concession to them was the offer of British citizenship, something never offered to anyone else. I don't understand how the people of New Zealand, how honourable historians and academics and how the government has allowed the re-writing of New Zealand's history so that extraordinary reality of what happened is now overwritten with lies and deception!