When I scanned the news items from Stuff last week,[i] I could hardly believe my eyes!
There was a lengthy article from one Olivia Wannan, “Climate Reporter”, beginning: “As the country grapples with the two different versions of our founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Tiriti, the Government is asserting its authority to curb greenhouse pollution ... [She] asks how our zero-carbon journey can put both at its centre.” And this when “greenhouse pollution” was quite unrecognized, if indeed it existed, when “Te Tiriti” was written!
For heaven’s sake! Please let us start, not with Ms Wannan’s fantasies, but with the actual, verifiable facts of history. Number One: There is one “Treaty of Waitangi”. I repeat: There is one “Treaty of Waitangi”, sometimes referred to as “Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.
This is a document in the Ngapuhi dialect which, in Hobson’s own words,[ii] “was signed at Waitangi on 6th February 1840 by 52 chiefs.[iii] ... This instrument I consider to be de facto the treaty and all the signatures that are subsequently obtained are merely testimonials of adherence to the terms of the original document.”
Now in this it is fair to say that Hobson was thinking with creditable discernment. Though in poor health and soon to suffer a severe stroke, he was anxious to get assent from chiefs far and wide throughout to country. Yet means of communication were primitive or virtually non-existent, the portage of canoes over watersheds between rivers being sometimes the only option. And electronic reproduction and transfer of documents was simply beyond the wildest fantasies of anybody. Indeed the electron itself was not discovered until nearly sixty years later.[iv]
A total of 240 signatures were actually applied to this document, though of course the majority were not on the attested date and a further six documents were utilised for subsequent signatures at various dates up to 3rd September.[v] This gave a total of 544,[vi] a quite remarkable achievement by any standard.[vii] That the great majority were not signed on the attested date does validate Hobson’s qualification that they were inevitably informal.
The So-called “Treaty in English”.
One would think that in the ranks of officialdom, somebody would have been curious enough to ask the obvious question: why at Waikato Heads a unique event occurred when chiefs’ signatures were applied to a printed copy of the treaty in Maori and what appeared to be a copy of the treaty in English? The answer is now known in full and has been published several times.[viii] When the meeting of chiefs had been convened there, Captain Symonds, who had been delayed at Manukau, had failed to arrive with the official text, in Maori. Rev. Maunsell therefore improvised with a printed copy of the Maori text for five signatures, then used a rejected copy of Freeman’s fake “Treaty in English” for the overflow, these two then comprising one single document.[ix]
In the course of time however, these two sheets which had been sealed together and then pinned together, were separated by physical force and the overflow sheet, Freeman’s fake, took on a life of its own. Under the vigorous sponsorship of MP, Matiu Rata, it was incorporated in Schedule 1 of the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act as “The Treaty in English”. This document is very significantly biased in favour of Maori interests and contrary to those of other New Zealanders. It omits from Article second the rights of individual possession of property (tino rangatiratanga) of all the people of New Zealand (tangata katoa o Nu Tirani); it includes in Article second substantial Maori rights to forests and fisheries, not included in the real treaty and solely present on Freeman’s whim. Since that day it has been mercilessly milked by the blatantly corrupt Waitangi Tribunal in favour of tribal interests, to the extent of many millions of dollars – of which we might say much more.[x] Parliament, let it be said unequivocally, blundered gravely by its inclusion.
And so, Ms Wannan?
If, as she asserts “the country grapples with the two different versions of our founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Tiriti”, it is “grappling with” a fake problem based on a fake belief in a minor episode in our history, actively promulgated by officialdom and swarms of so-called “treaty-trainers” perverting the minds of new immigrants, our children and all-too- gullible citizens.
Indeed that the Treaty is our “founding document” is a mere assumption well open to challenge! The idea that “our zero-carbon journey can put both at its centre” is a delusion too absurd even to contemplate.
Nevertheless, no idea seems too idiotic to gain currency in our deluded country today with rich rewards for those cunning enough to milk the system successfully. As she says with some accuracy “in 1840, [there was] a world with no knowledge of climate change.”[xi] But it is also true that in 1840 there was a world with no knowledge of the electromagnetic spectrum, yet that did not stop Maori interests from demanding successfully a substantial share of it for broadcasting channels heavily subsidised by the rest of us.
If, as she says “Te Tiriti was a major focus of the Climate Change Commission’s final advice[xii], sent to Government at the end of May”, then, since this much overworked document had performed its task by May 1840,[xiii] the Commission was so ill-focussed that it was a sheer waste of taxpayers’ money. If it says “Policies affecting how we work, travel, construct homes and buildings and dispose of waste should be created in partnership with iwi and Māori, in recognition of our country’s founding document” then it should be paying us for the privilege it has had of defying logic and spouting such garbage. If it said all future decarbonisation plans – which must be released every five years – need to stem from similar iwi and Māori partnerships then the same is true a fortiori. The addled nature of its collective brain is confirmed further by its “nam[ing] both the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in its final advice, often using them interchangeably.
And so yet more treaty-twisting, Ms Wannan?
She then proceeds to assail us with a discussion which has nothing to to with climate change and the threats it may pose but all to do with the treaty-twisting which the Waitangi Tribunal and several part-Maori academics and others have rendered into an art almost as intricate as carving with stone tools the detail of the sternpost of a canoe.
Thus she notes that: “The [Waitangi] Tribunal’s decision noted te reo version guarantees Māori leaders, hapū and people the continuation of tino rangatiratanga – often translated as absolute sovereignty.”[xiv] Well, it just doesn’t! Article second to which this refers made its guarantee to “tangata katoa o Nu Tirani” and one does not have to be a Te Reo scholar to know that this means unequivocally “all the people of New Zealand” and “all” means “all”. And for another fake translation (however often it may be said) we get “tino rangatiratanga – often translated as absolute sovereignty”.
She proceeds to quote the University of Otago’s Merata Kawharu (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi [and unspecified European ancestry, without a doubt!]) and she says: “[b]efore signing the treaty, the rangatira (leaders) expressed their concerns on whether the Treaty would strip them of their authority.” Well, of course it would strip them of some. As Parkinson has noted[xv] “certain traditional usages (slavery, cannibalism, etc.) ... were deemed intolerable by the Crown.”
But Kawharu’s eloquence does not stop there. She goes on with the oft-repeated fake mantra: “Article One has given the right of the government to govern, or governorship. Article two recognises the rights of rangatiratanga to be guaranteed to Māori.”
And she ends with: “The commission’s report concluded the Māori partnership strategy must be “appropriately resourced” “New roles for public servants in central and local government to promote engagement would help”, she adds. “Financially rewarding forum representatives and mātauranga Māori scientists would be the next step.” Well, that at least is easy to translate - “We expect another nice slice of cash in our hip pocket if we are going to do all this!”
Wannan proceeds then to quote agricultural economist Tanira Kingi’s (Ngāti Whakaue, Te Arawa [and unspecified European ancestry, without a doubt!]) but at least he is honest enough to admit that “[t]he Māori land tenure system makes it difficult for individual families within a land-owning community to use that land, because of the ownership structure.” It is this archaic hunter-gatherer system which government after government has sought to untangle and about which today’s part-Maori critics are vociferous in their condemnation. While a measure of self-interest might be discerned in those government efforts, as there usually is, Maori interests have stood to gain as well. Joining the mainstream of society instead of making continual demands for special privileges will assuredly be to their benefit in the long run.
It is surely high time for the people of New Zealand to speak up very firmly and say that fake claims about the Treaty of Waitangi and fake claims for privilege based upon them are not to be tolerated while Climate Reporters should stick to topics they know something about and dine with a very long spoon when the Maori record of “guardianship” is the principal item on the menu.
[i]18 August 2021
[ii]For which see “The Treaty of Waitangi”,T.L. Buick, 1914, p’162
[iii]The number was actually a few less than this, some chiefs signing it a day or so later.
[iv]Its discovery was announced on 30th April 1897 by its discoverer JJ Thomson. This revealed that atoms were not indivisible and had structure. His original equipment was on display at the London headquarters of the Institute of Physics during my own visit on the occasion of its centenary. It was remarkably simple.
[v]Some of these details are from P.Moon and P.Biggs, “The Treaty and its Times”, ISBN 0-908618-18-2, 2004, p..218 though Moon and Biggs fail to identify the one sheet in English as merely an attachment used for an overflow of signatures to the printed sheet signed at Waikato Heads. The official sheet, a copy of the original, had failed to arrive in time, by a route which did include the portage of a canoe over a watershed.
[vi]The figure given by Moon and Biggs, ibid. This included at least two duplicates. Marupo and Te Rauparaha and one European, Joseph Thomas, whose father in law, Nohorua, insisted at Cloudy Bay that he sign!
[vii]The assiduous way Hobson’s emissaries pursued their endeavours to obtain signatures is shown by the fact that Tuhaiwaiki and two other chiefs signed at Ruapuke Island in the eastern approached to Foveaux Strait, south of the Mainland. Formerly preferred as a residence to both Stewart Island and the South Island by southern Kai Tahu, it was deserted when my daughter and I visited by helicopter in February 2021. Note too the preferred southern spelling of the tribe’s name!
[viii]J.Robinson et al.,“Twisting the Treaty”, 4th Ed., 2018, ISBN 7-872970-33-8, pp. 39ff
H.Barr et al., “One Treaty, One Nation”, 2nd Ed., 2015, ISBN 1872970448, pp. 41ff
B.Moon, “New Zealand the fair colony”, 2nd Ed., 2020, ISBN 978-0-473-53728-9, p. 6
[ix]Full details are available on request to Martin Doutré at email@example.com
[x]M.Butler, “Tribes treaty Money power”, ISBN 1 872970 38 9, 2014 is most informative.
B.Moon, op.cit, pp. 55ff & 68 ff. gives more details
J.Robinson et al., op.cit, Appendix Six, pp 360ff. gives details of “Treaty Settlements to date” with a settlement of perhaps half a billion to Ngapuhi yet to be expected.
[xi]The science of geology being then in its infancy.
[xiii]When Hobson formally declared British sovereignty over all the islands of New Zealand
[xiv]For examples of the rampant distortion revealed in Tribunal decisions, refer to B.Moon, op.cit., pp. 55 ff & 68 ff.
[xv]P.Parkinson, “Preserved in the Archives of the Colony”
Bruce Moon is a retired computer pioneer who wrote "Real Treaty; False Treaty - The True Waitangi Story".