Saturday, May 22, 2021

Bruce Moon: Twisting the Treaty - Yet Another Version

The fake arguments of officialdom and academe all to clearly shown in the “ideasroom” article of Dr Emily Beausoleil of the Department of Political Science at Victoria University on 11th May 2021 do invite a response.  We respond accordingly.

Her article is headed by a display in colour of Busby’s so-called national flag[i] and the so-called “Maori sovereignty flag” with the Union Jack and New Zealand national flag conspicuously absent, so some idea of its tenor may be gained immediately though that was perhaps an editorial choice!

As the introduction states, Beausoleil's article purports to make “a case for  implementing the changes recommended in the He Puapua report ‘to more fully realise the unceded authority of tangata whenua’ and give greater self-determination, equality and meaningful voice among Tiriti partners.”  Her “unceded authority” and “tiriti partners” must ring the alarm bells for any alert reader.  Addressed here in particular are her tales about the Treaty of Waitangi and the earlier  “Declaration of Independence”. The threat implied in He Puapua is another matter.

The “English version” to which she refers is Freeman’s fake “treaty in English” which cannot have been used by the Williams to produce the actual treaty in the Ngapuhi dialect since it was not produced early enough for them to do so. Nevertheless an ignorant Parliament legislated it to be the “Treaty in English”.

Throughout her own text Beausoleil uses the fake name of “Aotearoa” for our country, never used in the Treaty (specifically the document in the Ngapuhi dialect) or by officialdom for more than a hundred years afterwards. (“New Zealand” is transliterated as “Nu Tirani” in the Treaty while official documents subsequently used “Niu Tireni” and continued doing so in 1945.)

In her second line she perpetuates in multiple ways the falsehood of “the unceded authority of the tangata whenua”.  While the Treaty refers in the preamble to “tangata maori”[ii], nowhere does it refer to tangata whenua”!  In her third line, she uses the nonsense words “Tiriti partners”. “Partnership”, all should recognize now, is a ridiculous modern fabrication and delusion.[iii]

Her third paragraph states that “The te reo and English versions of Te Tiriti are so different they are now often referred to as two separate documents”.  She clearly refers to Freeman’s fake “Treaty in English”. Well, of course: base your argument on a false premise and you will come to a false conclusion.  She introduces “contra preferentum” which is quite irrelevant.  Freeman’s fake[iv] must be dismissed and full attention given to the actual Treaty in Maori. This we do.

She states: “Article One provides the Crown with kāwanatanga or governorship.  Kāwana’ is a transliteration of ‘governor’ ... .  Well the transliteration is obvious but as we have said many, many times and the treaty-twisters equally frequently utterly ignore, “translation is not the same as derivation” and we have given many, many examples.[v]  Everybody at Waitangi knew that “kawanatanga” meant “sovereignty”!

Nobody there is on record as saying that they were different.  So all the arguments of Beausoleil and many others that “Governorship or kāwanatanga provided the British in Aotearoa – a very small hapū in 1840 – the capacity to have a governor to oversee their own affairs and enforce British law over British subjects. In short, kāwanatanga, as it is translated in accurate English versions of the te reo Tiriti, enables non-Māori to rule over their own people in this place.” are false and invalid.[vi]  They are so absurd that they are ludicrous.  Imagine the Queen of the most powerful empire the world have ever seen being “allowed” to do anything by a bunch of half-savage native chiefs!

She continues: “The meaning of Article One is made even clearer by Article Two, which affirms tino rangatiratanga, or ‘total political authority’, to use constitutional and Tiriti expert Moana Jackson’s definition.   Well, “constitutional and Tiriti expert Moana Jackson” may be but he is dead wrong here because, for a start, “tino rangatiratanga” did not mean “total political authority” or anything remotely like it.  Once again Williams had to think in choosing a word to mean “personal ownership” of  “lands, dwellings and all their property” which he wished to affirm to “all the people of New Zealand”, (tangata katoa o Nu Tirani) a concept quite foreign to Maori practice with its complicated practice of utu, muru and so on[vii].   And for which, inevitably, there was not a word in classical Maori.   He chose “tino rangatiratanga” which, as Laurie pointed out as long ago as 2002,  was as good as any.[viii]  Once again, treaty-twister after twister claims that this means “total political authority” and blatantly omits any mention of its being affirmed to all the people of New Zealand  (tangata katoa o Nu Tirani)  in the one and only Treaty – in Maori.

We note that, as existing British subjects had such rights already and as all Maoris (including the many slaves and women) were, by Article Third,  granted the same rights as the people of England they received the right to own property so, except for its provision for land sales introduced to safeguard Maori interests, Article second was redundant!

7. Beausoleil continues by introducing the 1835 “Declaration of Independence” whose alleged importance has been blown up out of all proportion by modern activists but is better described in the words of historian Keith Sinclair as “a polite fiction”.  A Michael King said[ix]: in a “contrived ceremony ... in exchange for a ... cauldron of porridge, Busby persuaded” some chiefs to sign it.  Contrary to Beausoleil’s claim that it was “recognised by the Crown”, though Colonial Secretary Lord Glenelg did view it sympathetically, the Foreign Office view was that it was “silly and unauthorised” and Governor Gipps in New South Wales called it “silly and unauthorised”.

“This document, into which Maori had no input”  “had no constitutional status” and “also had no reality” been written by Busby and translated to Maori by Henry Williams who “invented the word ... rangatiratanga” for the occasion.  And so the “Declaration of Independence” farce has continued unabated and it now occupies, with the original treaty document,  an honoured place in a cabinet costing taxpayers rather more than $7 million in the national museum!

And so, when he was requested by Hobson to translate his final draft to Maori, Henry did have quite a lot of experience and food for thought at his disposal.  But let us look at the actual circumstances.  It was on 4th February at about 4pm that Hobson arrived at Williams’ Paihia mission and requested a translation.  This would be required for the meeting of chiefs at Waitangi which Busby had summoned for the following morning.  Yes, it might have been helpful if Williams’ brother William, reputedly a better linguist, had been available to assist as Orange suggested but he was not.  However Henry was able to call on his son Edward, another fine scholar in the Ngapuhi dialect.[x] So they set to work overnight and produced what was to become what many people call our “founding document” and a “living document” etc.  They translated “sovreignty” (Busby’s spelling error!) to “kawanatanga” and “possession” (of property) to “tino rangatiratanga”.  After critical examination in the morning, one other word was changed, both documents were read out at the great meeting and nobody said they said anything different.

Then Beausoleil proceeds with “Among its many considerations, the meaning of these terms of our collective commitments in Te Tiriti led the Waitangi Tribunal[xi] to conclude in 2014 that The rangatira who signed te Tiriti o Waitangi in February 1840 did not cede sovereignty to the British Crown.” (Her underlining,, my italics)  Well, yes they did conclude as much!  Many considerations? Well the Tribunal certainly ignored or treated with contempt the actual words of the chiefs recorded at Waitangi[xii] who knew that they would cede sovereignty by signing.  The Tribunal likewise treated with contempt, if it did not ignore completely, the formal motion at the great meeting in Kohimarama in 1860, carried unanimously by 104 chiefs whose names are recorded, “That this Conference takes cognizance of the fact that the several Chiefs, members thereof, are pledged to each other to do nothing inconsistent with their declared recognition of the Queen’s sovereignty, and of the union of the two races ... .”[xiii]  Beausoleil must be ignorant of that too!

The Tribunal would certainly have been influenced by the words of Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond, recent recipient of New Zealand’s highest award, that “kawanatanga  ... was not a plausible stand-in for sovereignty”[xiv]  When I, Bruce Moon, wrote to her to point out the words of the chiefs at Kohimarama, she replied[xv] “No professional historian would take that as definitive evidence of Maori understandings in 1840.”  Well, well!  Only twenty years later, somehow104 Chiefs, some of whom had been present at the 1840 meeting, got it all wrong and failed to realize that nobody ceded sovereignty in 1840!  Yeah,right!  And the Waitangi Tribunal accepts without question and with no cross-examination, oral tales up to 150 years old of elderly Maoris who appear before it and millions of taxpayer money are dished out in accordingly. 

Now, with reference to land sales, we have Beausoleil stating: “the slippery clause of Crown right of ‘pre-emption’ appears nowhere, even in poor translation, within the te reo version  which is wrong on all counts.  “Slippery clause”?  Well, no.  Hobson had become aware of the vast amount of land sold willingly by Maori chiefs in their haste to acquire European consumer goods and he was concerned that some such transactions had not been equitable.  So on 30th January 1840[xvi], the day after his arrival, Hobson had the Paihia mission printer produce a proclamation declaring a review of all land sales, which led him to foresee that pre-emption by the Crown was the only fair way to manage sales in future.  Slippery clause, Emily?  No, I don’t think so!

So Beausoleil moralises that “this throws a great deal into confusion ... prevalent misconceptions about Te Tiriti borne of ... the greater airtime the English version has had in schools, media and government.”   Well, well, well – many of us have the impression that the media are saturated with the opinions of the treaty-twisters of whom the Waitangi Tribunal are the most evident and Beausoleil's piece a glaring example.  

Her moralising continues with some highflown rhetoric that our failure to accept that sovereignty was not ceded “also raises serious questions without easy answers about what fulfilling these Articles would require of us as a society today. But it also explains why He Puapua’s recommendations are indeed Tiriti-led. ... He Puapua offers recommendations for constitutional transformation that enable us to better fulfil our Tiriti obligations of Māori rangatiratanga and Crown kāwanatanga. ... It offers these recommendations not only to fulfil obligations of which the Crown has been in breach since it first began to presume sovereignty was ceded, but also so we might ultimately create a more inclusive and equal society.” Oh! Dear!  What garbage! Start with false premises and once again, Ms Beausoleil you reach a false conclusion,.

She expresses the hope that her “son might live in a more just, more honourable, more inclusive Aotearoa”.  One thing which is certain is that if He Puapua is implemented, he won’t!  And she describes herself as “a staunch democrat and a Treaty partner  Well, it is fatuous to claim that there ever were any “Treaty partners”.  New Zealand will become an apartheid society, with accelerating inter-racial hatred, arbitrary exercise of power and a situation where the true democracy and fairness we have enjoyed for most of our short history are only distant memories.  And just a couple of short questions to finish, Emily: “Why, in a document in English do you continually refer to ‘Te Tiriti’ and not simply ‘the Treaty’?” And “Does saying ‘New Zealand’ stick in your throat???”


[i]M. King, “The Penguin History of New Zealand”, 2003, p.153-4

[ii]Whether this is capitalized or not appears to depend on ones interpretation of Williams’ handwriting!

[iii]See for example R.Chapple, “Partnership myth an invention of our times.”, “NZ Herald”, 11 February 1999

[iv]Noting as we do that it is the sole pretext for giving “Forests and Fisheries” to the tribes, a palpable swindle perpetrated upon the people of New Zealand.

[v]B. Moon,”New Zealand; the fair colony, p.68, p.73. For example.

[vi]Many other such false examples include that of Sandy Morrison, Associate Professor at Waikato University: “The chiefs do allow the Queen to have kawanatanga, a nominal and delegated authority so that she can control her people.”, B.Moon, op. cit. p.7, Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond, op.cit  p.72 and Haami Piripi (Sammy Phillips) a “Treaty negotiator” for Ngapuhi, both quoted by Matt Philp, “Your Weekend”, 16th October 2010.

[vii]Examples of “tikanga” which it might require some devious thinking to fit in with our common law practices!

[viii]J. Laurie, J. Polynesian Soc., 111, no. 3,  2002, pp 255-8.

[ix].King, op.cit., p.154-5

[x]As asserted by Carleton, Williams’ biographer

[xi]Its members being at the time Craig Coxhead, Professor Richard Hill, Kihi Ngatai, Ranginui Walker and Joanne Morris

[xii]By Colenso and checked by Busby at the time. “The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi”, Govt Printer, 1890

[xiii]Proc. Kohimarama Conference, 13 to18 of the Maori Messenger, NZETC, VUW.

[xiv]M,Philp, “The Fight for Truth”, “Your Weekend”, 16 October 2010

[xv]A. Salmond, email to B. Moon, 24 August 2010

[xvi]90 years exactly before my own birthday!

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



And/orsum said...

About 8 years ago I picked up The New Zealand Journal of History, Vol. 6, No. 2, The University of Auckland. October 1972. Pages 129 to 158 cover excellent analysis by Ruth M Ross. Mr Moon might be able to track a copy down and so add to his footnotes. She points out that there was only ever a Maori version signed. Her conclusion was that the treaty as it stood should be abandoned.
Peter Stevens

John Laurie said...

Excellent article.
The New Zealand Journal of History is all online at
The decision of the Waitangi Tribunal that sovereignty was not relinquished at Waitangi is quite incredible in view of Colenso's memoir of the signing and comments from some of the signatories 20 years later at the Kohimarama Conference. The many explanations presumably given at the time of the signing by missionaries and others should also be considered. One chief at the Hokianga signing welcomed the idea of the advent of British law for Maori, hoping that it would punish all the adulterers!