Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bruce Moon: The True Meaning of the Treaty

The essence of the Treaty is that by this document in the Ngapuhi dialect, the chiefs ceded sovereignty to the Queen completely and forever.

In return, all Maoris, including the many slaves of other Maoris, became British subjects with their full rights and privileges - a magnificent gift.

Claims today that the chiefs never ceded sovereignty to the Queen show contempt for the truth.
It was accepted at Waitangi by numerous English-speaking chiefs that the word "kawanatanga" used for "sovereignty" in the Treaty meant exactly that. Claims to the contrary today are based on the false idea that translation is the same as derivation. It is not.

Hobson's brief was "to treat with the aborigines of New Zealand in the recognition of Her Majesty's sovereign 'authority over the whole or any part of those islands which they may be willing to place under Her Majesty's dominion" but only with "the free intelligent consent of the natives".

Without it, he would have sailed away and who knows what the outcome would have been?

The written record of events at Waitangi on February 6, 1840 is totally clear. The chiefs ceded sovereignty completely and forever to the Queen and knew that they were doing so. This was confirmed fully by the chiefs' own words at the Kohimarama Conference in 1860 and corroborated by missionary Samuel Warren, who worked subsequently amongst the northern tribes for 15 years. It was confirmed yet again by outstanding Maori scholar, Sir Apirana Ngata in 1920.

By Article third of the Treaty, all Maoris - "tangata Maori, katoa o Nu Tirani" - received full citizen's rights and this included the many slaves of other Maoris, most being held in abject conditions and often the victims of cannibal feasts. Descendants of those slaves today should be singing the praises of the British for their liberation but we never hear a word. Many chiefs dishonoured the Treaty of Waitangi by being very slow to release their slaves, often taking years.

It is Article second of the Treaty which perhaps has been most twisted in recent times by racists and revisionists. Yet in essence this article is redundant since all it does is guarantee the right of citizens to own private property - land, dwellings and chattels - and British subjects have these rights anyway. Looking more closely at it, some things stand out..First, the guarantee is made to all the people of New Zealand - "tangata katoa o Nu Tirani" - in clear distinction to Article third which applied only to Maoris - and "all" means "all".

The vital point to note before we even look at the meanings of words such as "rangatiratanga" and "taonga" is that rights of ownership were guaranteed to all - equality of rights is a fundamental aspect of the Treaty in which we should all rejoice, not make spurious claims based on ancestry or sometimes a very small part of it. Since, in pre-Treaty days, Maori property was only what could be held by force of arms and then only by few people except chiefs, for Maori citizens to own property in their own right, with assurances of permanence and inheritance, was a considerable boon.

Nevertheless, "tino rangatiratanga" propaganda continues unabated with the flagrantly false idea that it applies only to those with some Maori blood.

The words were hardly ever used by anybody for decades after 1840, Parkinson noting "a single late and remarkable exception" being "tino rangatira" as one title amongst many by which Queen Victoria was addressed in a petition by some Rotorua Maori residents. As Parkinson has also said: "Kawharu's mistranslation of `tino rangatiratanga' as 'the unqualified exercise of 'chieftainship' is not merely erroneous but preposterous".

Two things are certain: Article first of the Treaty stating that the chiefs ceded sovereignty, neither Hobson nor anybody else would have, imagined that it was contradicted a few lines later in Article second, so whatever the meaning of "tino rangatiratanga", it was nothing like "sovereignty". "Full possession" is the only meaning which makes sense in context.

So Maori "aspirations for tino rangatiratanga" which Gareth Morgan says will never be over, are all modern day-dreaming about fantasies of the past with no existence except in their imagination.

Even more abused than this is the meaning of "taonga". In 1820, Hongi Hika asserted that it meant "property procured by the spear".

When 13 Ngapuhi chiefs wrote to King William in 1831, they stated that their only possessions were "timber, flax, pork and potatoes" and the word used for "possessions" was "taonga".

With the range of European material goods such as iron cooking pots, steel knives and so on becoming available to the tribes, it was natural that the meaning of "taonga" be extended to include them but it still only meant "property" in William Williams' 1844 dictionary, i.e. after the Treaty was signed.

Given that some 10 years later its meaning was again extended to include "treasure" it is as equally preposterous as misuse of the meaning of "tino rangatiratanga" to claim that that was its meaning in 1840.

Yet, ignoring the genuine meaning of Article second today, the claims are rampant that only people with Maori ancestry are somehow entitled to natural water, the electromagnetic spectrum, special treatment by health authorities, and indeed special fishing quotas (which are not even mentioned in the Treaty).

More and more are compliant government departments, local bodies educational. institutes and hospital boards kowtowing before this onslaught, the rights of most New Zealanders being swamped in a sea of political correctness.

It is high time that all New Zealanders of whatever ethnic origin or mixed race put the Treaty back in 1840 where it belongs as one step in our progress towards nationhood, and moved forward in harmony as equals in a democratic state with no racist privileges of any kind for anybody.

This article was written with with assistance from Chris Lee and first published in the The Weekend Sun.


Geoffrey said...
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Thank you Bruce. We have reached a stage in our national journey where some discomfort is required before an aberrant trend in our development can be corrected. A small discomfort now is far preferable to a great upheaval later; but a I fear a great upheaval is inevitable

Dave said...
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Its not so much about treasures or land, the modern thrust is more about that timeless human failing, greed, easy money and power. More and more less wise people like Gareth Morgan are now actually believing the mass propaganda and myth that has been forced upon a weak, pc obsessed NZ public by some part Maori academics and the sense of fairness that is part of British culture. History is being rewritten and fact buried in a successful effort to extort as much as possible by a greedy few, and its working, why stop now especially when the Morgans of this world are now doing their dirty work for them.
I wonder if in the not to distant future when Gareths grand children are subject to having a separate justice system, only able to lease land from Maori landowners, paying Maori for every consent or privilege to fish from our shores and seas.
Being 'guests' in your own country with a multitude of race based laws and rights, will they then say Granddad was right!.

ONZF said...
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Some say the Treaty of Waitangi is a “Living Document”, but it’s been on life $$$uport for far too long!

We must let go of the Treaty of Waitangi as it was no more than a very simple, moral and practical way of allowing Great Britain to obtain sovereignty over all the Islands of New Zealand, Britain to unite all the people of New Zealand under one flag and one law, the survival of the tangata Maori and the preservation of their lands.

Once the Treaty was signed, Tangata Maori became British Subjects under one flag and one law! “He iwi tahi tatou – We are now one people” Lt. Governor Hobson.
Britain obtained sovereignty over the North Island by Treaty and over the South Island by Discovery on the 21 May 1840 under the dependency of New South Wales as an interim measure before New Zealand became an Independent British Colony on the 3 May 1841.

The Treaty was an agreement between Queen Victoria and tangata Maori, therefore if today’s Maori do not like the deal their ancestors did, then let them sort it out with the Queen. Not our problem!

“The chiefs placed in the hands of the Queen of England, the sovereignty and authority to make laws. ……If you think these things are wrong, then blame your ancestors who gave away their rights when they were strong”. “The Treaty of Waitangi – An Explanation” written by Sir Apirana Ngata. M.A, LI.B, Lit.D, Minister of Native Affairs in 1923. One of our most educated Maori scholars.

Five months after Britain declared sovereignty over all the Islands of New Zealand, Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent dated the 16 November 1840 superseded the Treaty and was enacted on the 3 May 1841. The Royal Charter/Letters Patent was Our True Founding Document and First Constitution, which separated New Zealand from New South Wales and made New Zealand into a British Colony with its own Governor and Constitution to form a legal government to make laws with courts and judges to enforce those laws, all under the watchful eye of Great Britain. In 1947 we became a Sovereign Nation when we adopted the Statute of Westminster.

Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent was the reason my ancestors and thousands of others came to New Zealand. New Zealand was a British Colony under one flag and one law, but we continue to argue about the Treaty of Waitangi today, which is, Not our Problem!

Our concern must be that the Governors and Governments have not followed the instructions issued by Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent dated the 16 November 1840 of one flag and one law for all the people of New Zealand, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

Forget the Treaty of Waitangi and embrace Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent, OUR First Constitution and True Founding Document and don’t let anyone tell you differently! The Royal Charter is displayed in the Constitution Room at Archives New Zealand in Wellington gathering dust. It is our First Constitution and True Founding Document.

Forget Waitangi Day, it is not our day. Let’s celebrate OUR day, “Independence Day”, 3rd May as they did in 1841, irrespective of race, colour or creed. (See below).

New Zealand’s Independence Day – 3 May!

The End

Dunc said...
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With all respect to the gentleman writing:

The "magnificent gift" of colonisation doesn't stack up as such a great thing historically.

He ignores the Maori wars where armed troop forced Maori off their land for setters.
He uses dubious interpretations based on one or two individuals statements and a different cultural world view. ie: taonga could easily be applied to ordinary items that your life depended on from the Maori spiritual perspective that all things contain mauri or spiritual life essence.
Sir Apirana Ngata was undoubtedly an important figure in Maoridom, but the opinion of one individual doesn't make his point of view gospel, widespread, or even true.

The translation of the Treaty has always been in question because the English version and the Maori version (as I understand it) say 2 different things.
Not all Maori signed the Treaty. To say that (ONZF) the Treaty was superseded 5 months after it was signed because the British Govt unilaterally declared something different is a nonsense (no offence intended).

The Brits and other Europeans were merciless colonists who took over countries and divided the world between themselves for their own benefit regardless of the impact on the 'natives'.
He talks about Maori being slow to release their slaves, but the Brits were taking slaves in their 10's of thousands from Vanuatu in after 1860.

We're very lucky to have the Waitangi Tribunal and the Treaty process because although it's dissatisfying for both sides it is a dialogue that aims to resolve past issues and create a foundation that we can move forward on.

Honesty dictates we recognise that our country was not, as our noble leader John Key put it, "settled peacefully".

No question we should work towards a unified country with one law for all, but there are elements of marae justice and maori conflict resolution process that are wonderful in the right circumstances. The European system is far from perfect, but it too has some important elements in it.

We cant move on until we find some sort of resting place for the past. That's what the Treaty/Tribunal process is about.

Good to reflect on it all though, thanks for the opportunity to comment.

mitch morgan said...
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Interesting comments, Dunc.
And here was me thinking that the first Maori were cannibals, slavers and the 'owners' of property by conquest of weaker tribes. Alas - your views don't coincide with Chieftains' comments in the transcription of the Kohimarama Conference in 1860.However, I'm sure you would convince someone who had only "official" politically correct knowledge of early history. Personally, I would rather give more credence to the testimony of the people who were involved at that time.
Truth isn't racism, you know.

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