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Friday, May 10, 2019

Bruce Moon: An Open Letter to Associate Professor Maria Bargh


27th April 2019

Dear Associate Professor Bargh,

You are reported by Bob Edlin in “Breaking Views” on 19th April[1] as having written recently,

Te Tiriti o Waitangi reaffirmed Māori tino rangatiratanga and allowed for Crown kawanatanga. This partnership approach has been noted as one of the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown, the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal. 

Te Tiriti o Waitangi creates obligations, including for the Crown to actively protect Māori rights and interests and to uphold the Treaty partnership. Ensuring that Māori are a key part of decision-making in local government is one of the ways that the Crown can uphold their obligations.”

Well now ... “allowed for Crown kawanatanga”.  Well, yes, “kawanatanga” was indeed the missionary-coined word for “sovereignty” used in default of any classic Maori word for the concept.  There can be no doubt that that was how it was understood at Waitangi on those fateful days in February 1840. You are surely aware of the recorded words of the chiefs who initially opposed signing that to do so would rank them below the Governor and hence, a fortiori, beneath the Queen.  They would cede sovereignty, as they did, and as Sir Apirana Ngata explained very clearly in his 1922 book of which again you are surely aware. 

Now, there are some people who claim that because “kawanatanga” is derived from a maorification of “governor” with a Maori suffix meaning “the property of” that somehow its meaning is “only” “governorship”.  There are actually some people, such as Associate Professor Sandy Morrison of the University of Waikato who would have us believe that “The chiefs do allow the Queen to have kawanatanga, a nominal and delegated authority so that she can control her people”.[2]  Well, fancy that! A bunch of petty chiefs “allow” the Queen of the greatest empire the world had ever seen to have “a nominal and delegated authority so that she can control her people” - and that is presumably what she tells innocent students.  Can you really imagine anything more ridiculous?

Her whole argument has a fundamental flaw because translation is not the same as derivation and I could give you examples from several languages which make this clear.  So without a shadow of doubt, the translation of “kawanatanga” is “sovereignty” and everybody at Waitangi and indeed on other signing occasions knew this.  It was why Te Heu Heu refused to sign, his reason being that it would “place the mana of Te Heu Heu beneath the feet of a woman.”  But he was one of very few as more that 500 chiefs did sign, thus giving Hobson more than ample assurance that establishing the Queen's sovereignty was accepted by the vast majority.

So why do you make the statement that Te Tiriti “allowed for Crown kawanatanga”?  In view of the obfuscation which is all-too-common elsewhere – and there are sadly too many others who would agree with Morrison – why did you not say “By Te Tiriti the chiefs agreed to cede sovereignty completely and for ever to the Queen”, because that is what it actually said?

In the very same sentence you say: “Te Tiriti o Waitangi reaffirmed Māori tino rangatiratanga”.  Now that. Professor Bargh, tells much less than the whole truth.  To quote Hobson’s final draft of 4th February, what Article second actually said is that “The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs & tribes and to all the people of New Zealand the possession of their lands, dwellings and all their property”.   That was very accurately translated overnight by Williams, father and son, the bit I have underlined being “tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa”.  It is abundantly clear that the guarantee was to all the people, “tangata katoa”, not just Maoris who are not specifically mentioned at all in the article.  So your statement, by a very serious act of omission, states very much less than the whole truth – that’s not very creditable for a senior academic, is it?

And by the way, lest you are uncertain, there can be no reasonable doubt that Hobson’s final draft of 4th February is what it purports to be, albeit officialdom hired one Dr Donald Loveridge to discredit it.  He failed – abjectly.  Moreover, within a few weeks. copies of it were dispatched on two occasions by American authorities here to their superiors in the United States.[3]  Do you know if this?  Claudia Orange didn’t.

And then you go on: “This partnership approach has been noted as one of the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown, the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal. “.  Well, now, dear lady, kindly quote to me the exact words in the Treaty document which establish any “partnership approach”.  It is irrelevant what any of those bodies you mention have said.   As you should know, an argument from authority is a bogus argument.  As David Lange is reported to have said in 1990:  “Did Queen Victoria for a moment think of forming a partnership with a number of thumb prints and 500 people. Queen Victoria was not that sort of person”.  The answer is obvious.  The whole idea is utterly absurd, so much so that we must seriously question the mindset and indeed the motives of all those who claim that any sort of “partnership” has ever existed.  It is surely within the role of any serious academic to challenge such absurdities, not to accept them as you have done.

And so you go on: “Te Tiriti o Waitangi creates obligations”. Well, of course it did; those of all citizens to obey the law of the land and of the “Crown” to protect them from foreign invasions and maintain civil peace.

But such obligations of the Crown simply do not include as you claim “for the Crown to actively protect Māori rights and interests and to uphold the Treaty partnership” except insofar as their “rights and interests” are those of all citizens, while “to uphold the Treaty partnership” is a modern manufactured idiocy which defies rational acceptance.  So why do you, as a presumably intelligent and informed academic in a senior position, make such a statement?

And so we come to your final sentence: “Ensuring that Māori are a key part of decision-making in local government is one of the ways that the Crown can uphold their obligations.”  Since the “Crown obligations” you cite are palpably bogus, your deduction from them that “Ensuring that Māori are a key part of decision-making in local government” is not an “obligation” on “the Crown” or on anyone.  Any citizen, whether of part-Maori descent or any other has as much right as the next person to offer to participate in such activities.  To judge by the Hastings example, several successful councillors of Maori descent are active in this way.  Any more favoured treatment is a plain abuse of democracy, indeed it is flagrant racism.  It is cause for deep concern that it is evidently supported by senior academics.

And finally, Maria, we have Te Ururoa Flavell, also reported by Bob Edlin, saying, “I think that Māori as tangata whenua bring that unique perspective – and you can talk about it as a Treaty right – to the decision-making table.”  Noting first that nowhere in the Treaty are Maoris referred to as “tangata whenua” and that his claim that they have a “unique perspective” is no more than presumptuous politicking, it is sheer nonsense to talk about it as a “treaty right”.  Given that typical activities of district councils are maintaining roads, collecting rubbish and rates,  perhaps you could suggest to me how their alleged “unique perspective” could be useful to them.

With my compliments,

Bruce Moon

Nelson


[1]     B. Edlin, “The prickly issue of Treaty rights and governance”, “Breaking Views”, 19th April 2019
[2]     S Morrison, “Waikato Times”, 1st December 2017
[3]     M. Doutré, “The Littlewood Treaty”. Dé Danann Publishers, 2015. ISBN 0-473-10140-8, p 77ff & 92ff.


Bruce Moon is a retired computer pioneer who wrote "Real Treaty; False Treaty - The True Waitangi Story".

1 comment:

Jim Rose said...
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Are there any 19th-century contemporaneous diaries and records and news reports of Maori saying they expected a partnership after the treaty and they didn't get what they were promised