Monday, April 18, 2022

Bruce Moon: The truth must be told again!

When Hobson arrived in New Zealand on 29th January 1840, equipped with a 4200-word brief from Colonial Secretary Lord Normanby, he knew what he had to do.  If the Maori chiefs wanted the protection of the Queen they had one choice: to sign a document ceding all their rights of sovereignty, whatever they were, to the Queen.  

As Hobson took pains to explain to them in due course: “as the law of England gives no civil powers to Her Majesty out of her  dominions, her efforts to do you good will be futile unless you consent.”[1] Moreover, all Maoris were to be offered in due course by Article Third of the Treaty, all the rights and duties of the people of England; remarkable for its generosity in its day.  

Yet today we have Jacinta Ruru and Jacobi Kohu-Morris of the University of Otago talking of[2]  “concept(s) .. imposed over the top of existing indigenous nations and legal systems”, an extraordinary extrapolation from the actual articles of the treaty. The sheer absurdity of this sort of statement in the New Zealand context must surely be obvious to everybody except of course those who are determined not to see.  There was neither nation nor legal system nor anything indigenous in anything Maori.  They were a collection of independent tribes often in brutal conflict with each other.

Hobson set to work forthwith to make the first essential step: to draft a version in English of the requisite document.  As a straightforward and experienced sailor he knew well how to make a plain language statement – often at sea, men’s live might depend on it.  His obvious assistant was his personal secretary, James Freeman, appointed by Governor Gipps of New South Wales, anxious to rid himself of a number of incompetents.[3]  Freeman, a product of Eton and Oxford, had a headful of the pretentious language used in European diplomatic exchanges.  After two days of producing incompatible drafts which still exist in our archives, Hobson dismissed Freeman and sought the help of Busby who succeeded on 3rd February in producing an initial draft for Hobson’s attention.

Thereupon, the following day, at the spacious home of James Clendon, a British subject and American consul, with Busby as scribe and Clendon in attendance and providing paper from his own private stock not used officially elsewhere, Hobson proceeded to produce a document in English, duly dated 4th February, for translation into the Maori language. 

This done by mid-afternoon, Hobson proceeded the short distance across the water to the mission station at Paihia and requested Henry Williams, the Head of the Mission, to translate it and provide for him by the following morning a text in Maori.  With the aid of his son, Edward Marsh Williams, who was very competent in that language, Williams did so.  This text, with one word changed when reviewed the next morning, was of course the text known to all as “The Treaty of Waitangi”, signed by rather more than forty chiefs over the next few days.

Meanwhile, Freeman, sidelined by Hobson from the work of treaty preparation, and with no authority to do so, set to work to write what he thought a proper English version and  succeeded in getting it away to Governor Gipps in Sydney by the storeship “Samuel Winter” on 8th February.

Clendon, for his part, made a copy of Hobson’s genuine text on paper from the same stock as the 4th February document was written, and with minor adjustments – correcting Busby’s spelling mistake: “Sovreignty” and with “6th February”, the actual date on which the signing took place in his capacity as US Consul, sent it on 20th February to the US Secretary of State, John Forsyth.

Then on 30th March,  US explorer Charles Wilkes arrived in the Bay of Islands in his storm-battered ship, USS Vincennes and in his own words proceeded “to inquire into the actual state of these islands”. From Administrator Shortland via Consul Clendon he was provided with the actual final text of 4th February which his writer proceeded to copy exactly, Busby’s mistakes included, and making a few of his own![4]  Both documents exist today in US archives.

This done, Clendon never returned the final text and in due course amongst his private papers it came into the hands of his solicitor,  Henry Littlewood and disappeared from public view until 1989 when it was found amongst her mother’s effects by Beryl Needham, a descendant of Littlewood.

Dubbed by some official “the Littlewood Treaty”, establishment figures have done all that they can to discredit it.  The official line is that expressed in response to a questioner by Hon. Margaret Wilson, the then Associate Minister of Justice, on 27th July 2004: “A written treaty ... has no validity unless signed by both parties.  The “Littlewood” Treaty was not signed”. ... While the “Littlewood Treaty” may be of historical interest, it has no official status.”

This was the line taken in the Treaty-2-U caravan which was taken around the country in 2006 to promulgate the official treaty story.  So this flimsy dodge avoids the fact that it was the version in English whose composition was a vital step in the production of the actual treaty.   Nobody pretends that it was an executable document in its own right but its historical importance is vital because it says precisely in English what is said in the treaty in Maori and, as can be seen from it, the steps Hobson took to observe his mandate from Lord Normanby.

In only one significant way, does the substance of the treaty differ from Hobson’s 4th February English version.   Between “tangata” and ‘katoa” in Article third, Williams inserted “maori”  on whom specifically the rights of the people of England were to be conferred.  Since existing British subjects had such rights already and it was not desired to include foreigners, this was appropriate. This is further and indeed compelling evidence that the document dated 4h February was not a translation of the Treaty document in Maori but preceded it.  It can only have been written on 4th February and is correctly dated.  There is no evidence to the contrary.

The critical importance of all this is that, given the well-established authenticity of the inaccurately dubbed “Littlewood Treaty”, the document in English from which the treaty was translated, any translation of the treaty itself to English is entirely unnecessary and can be, at least, twice removed from the actual document in English which was read out at Waitangi on 5th February 1840.

So what actually happened at Waitangi?

It is clear that when a large number of chiefs assembled at Waitangi on that fateful couple of days that they meant business and that they grasped the nature of that business.  Their words at Waitangi on 5/2/1840, clearly those of articulate speakers, recorded at the time by Colenso, leave not the slightest doubt that they knew what they were doing.  Very few commentators ever note this fact.

There were barely twenty four hours between Hobson’s presentation to the chiefs and their near-unanimous acceptance of his proposals.  They did not seek explanations of fine points of meaning.  Those who were bilingual did not quibble about differences between Hobson’s English text of 4th and the Williams’ text in Maori.  Apart from some clarification of religious matters, few questions were asked.  When the chiefs adjourned to Tii marae to debate the matter, there is no report of any of them referring back to him for clarification of what he proposed.  Next morning more than forty were ready to sign and did so.

Subsequently their decision was emphatically endorsed by about five hundred chiefs around the country who added their signatures. 

So what was actually agreed at Waitangi?

(1) The chiefs ceded such sovereignty as each possessed to the Queen on the most generous terms for any native race in the history of colonisation.

In the absence of any word in classic Maori for “sovereignty”, the Williams in their translation chose “kawanatanga”, a synthetic word obviously comprising a transliteration of “governor” with a suffix meaning “-ship”.  Time after time, commentators claim that this meant that only “government” and not sovereignty was ceded to the Queen.  This is false and superficial reasoning because translation is not the same as derivation.  Many examples could be given. The words of chiefs recorded at Waitangi and elsewhere leave no doubt that they knew that by signing they would become subordinate to the Queen.  They knew they would cede sovereignty;  that is the tribal autonomy of each, not the sovereign authority of a non-existent nation –  and they did!

(2) By Article third all Maoris (tangata maori katoa [sic]) received the protection of the Queen and the same rights and duties as the people of England.  “Rights” was translated by the Williams as “tikanga”.  Note that this referred to the rights of English people, not whatever “tikanga” meant in a Maori context.  It included protection from any foreign power,  in particular the French of whom Maoris wore mortally afraid.

In essence, remarkable indeed in their generosity those terms are, that is all!  However, the essentially redundant[5] Article Second is the one which has been mercilessly exploited with glaring omissions and half-truths (or less) by our legion of treaty-twisters!!!  Here is how.

This article assured all the people of New Zealand tangata katoa o Nu Tirani that is all, of the possession tino rangatiratanga of their homes and personal property “taonga”.   Herein lie two plausible though false chinks in the translation which the treaty-twisters exploit to the full.

(1) The first is that Maoris had no real conception of a right enjoyed by the people of England, now granted to them: possessions of private property – of which they could be deprived at whim by chiefs and others of senior status, such as rangatiras, in the very hierarchical Maori tribal society.  In this way the Williams sought to extend to all of them what had hitherto been only a right of Maori chiefs.  Nevertheless, it needs to be said again since the treaty-twisters so flagrantly ignore it,  Article second applied to all the people of New Zealand.

More and more today, do we see part-Maori radicals waving a black, white and red flag which they call the “tino rangatiratanga” flag, claiming that those two words in the Treaty somehow mean that there is something called “maori sovereignty” which continues to exist.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  No such thing ever existed as a unified concept.

(2)  The word for “property” used appropriately by the Williams was “taonga”.  It had first been defined by Hongi Hika in assisting Lee and Kendall in compiling the first Maori dictionary in 1820 as “property procured by the spear” – “tao”.  It had been broadened by 1831 when thirteen Ngapuhi chiefs wrote to King William seeking his protection of themselves and their property which was “nothing but timber, flax, pork and potatoes” - the latter two of course, courtesy of Europeans.  Its meaning expanded to include the great variety of European material goods but nevertheless William Williams in his 1844 dictionary still defined it simply as “property”. That was still its meaning in P.M. Ryan’s 1974 dictionary.

Since then part-Maori opportunists have unashamedly expanded its meaning to include anything their greedy minds aspire to acquire.  One notorious example was when a feeble old man was claimed to be a “taonga”.  Gullible white men thereupon allowed him to jump the queue for a major operation and within a few months he was dead from other natural causes.

More sweeping is their claim that the electromagnetic spectrum – barely known in 1840 – is another “taonga” and officialdom continues meekly to award very valuable and extensive rights to it to part-Maori interests.  There is every sign that they are now making similar spurious claims with respect to natural water.  If other New Zealanders are stupid enough to give in to these spurious claims, then they will inevitably pay for the consequences.

And at Cabinet Level

With the rigid denial of the authenticity of the so-called “Littlewood Treaty” which, as the primary source in English, would be superior to any translation, officialdom in consequence needs an “official translation” of the actual Treaty.  The first such translation was made by T.E. Young of the Native Department in 1869 but Cabinet decided to adopt a 1989 translation by Sir Hugh Kawharu.

All well and good, you may say, considering his distinguished academic record.  This does not exempt it from a further critical look since it is taken to be authoritative in all cabinet considerations concerning the Treaty of Waitangi and any implications of it.  These are perhaps more extensive today than at any previous time in its 182 year history – a truly astonishing situation which, surely, is matched by few other purported treaties of anything like its great age! [6]

Kawharu offered a number of footnotes to his translation but most of them do not ring true in the light of our earlier commentary.  Most flagrant is his “footnote” about “taonga” thus:

“As submissions to the Waitangi Tribunal concerning the Maori language have made clear, ‘taonga’ refers to all dimensions of a tribal group’s estate, material and non-material – heirlooms and wahi tapu (sacred places), ancestral lore and whakapapa (genealogies), etc.”

In the first place, Kawharu could hardly have done worse than refer to proceedings of the Waitangi Tribunal as his ultimate authority.  As veteran newspaperman, Brian Priestley who sat in on Tribunal proceedings for three months observed: “it would be hard to imagine any public body less well organised to get at the truth” (Sunday Star-Times, 30 May 2010).

Yet even worse, in using a modern meaning of a word in translating a document written in 1840 when its meaning was quite different, he commits a gross error, quite unforgivable in any academic, let alone one of his exalted standing.

So there we all are, with Cabinet allowing itself to be grossly deceived by a flagrant distortion of the meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi, held so dear by so many, with the loss of major assets of the people of New Zealand on spurious grounds to a racially defined group, almost all of whom are direct descendants of colonists from Britain to whom they direct their hatred today and whose tribal ancestors might have been killed in the incessant tribal wars, had not British colonisation saved them from themselves.

There are more plain truths:

1.  A “Treaty Partnership” is a fake

2. “Treaty Principles” are a fake

3.  The legislated “Treaty in English” is a fake.

We shall have more to say on these sorry realities.


[1] Colenso’s account, checked at the time by Busby. (full reference available).
[2] Atea Otago, 2 February 2022. which states: “This content was created in paid partnership with the University of Otago ... a vibrant contributor to Maori development and the realisaton of Maori aspirations, through our Maori Strategic framework and world-class researchers and teachers.”
[3] As recorded by Buick (reference available)
[4] C.Wilkes, USS Vincennes letter book, copy of despatch Number 64, Microfilm 1262 University of Auckland Library pp 163-4, original at Kansas Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.
[5] Apart from the provision for sale of Maori land which soon became unworkable, Article second guaranteed rights to Maoris implicit in Article third and to other British subjects who had those rights already.
[6] Coincidentally, it was in mid-March of the same year that the so-called “Littlewood” Treaty was found by Beryl Needham among the effects of Ethel Littlewood, her recently deceased mother.

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


Kiwialan said...

The truth is always the first casualty in communist propaganda. This racist government have rewritten history,dumbed down the education system, destroyed our democracy, shackled small to medium businesses and promoted anyone who claims a drop or two of Maori blood to a new privileged class. The treaty should be consigned to the museum where it belongs, not used as a tool to divide the people of New Zealand into modern tribal warfare. Kiwialan.

Anonymous said...

Maybe "Partnership" and "Principles" were in the bit the rats ate?

Doug Longmire said...

Very well written Bruce. I also have read your articles in Tross publications. You have described clearly the labyrinthine manipulation of the Treaty that is being used by the racist tribal elites.
Many pages have been written by latter day revisionists to try and read meanings into the Treaty that quite simply are not there.
One only has to go back and read the words of the document:-
NO "partnership"
NO "principles"
YES - sovereignty was totally cede to the Crown.
[The notion that the sovereign of the most powerful empire in the world would enter into a shared sovereignty with a group of illiterate native chiefs is simply laughably ridiculous]

Empathic said...

I understand that Sir Apirana Ngata translated the Maori Treaty into English in 1922. He was a hugely respected academic and his translation was done when some who signed the Treaty were probably still alive (though I haven't researched this). His translation mentions nothing of partnership in government and makes it clear that the Chiefs "cede absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the Government of all their lands". It makes no mention of Maori sovereignty, only "full possession of their lands, their homes and all their possessions". It referred only to "all the rights and privileges of British subjects" but not to 'duties'; it may be reasonable to assume that 'rights and privileges' includes responsibilities, what do you think?

One important aspect of the Treaty seldom mentioned is that it protected chiefly chiefly land ownership rights by requiring all sales to be done by representatives purchasing on behalf of the Crown, thereby providing the best chance of proper and fair transactions which most subsequent sales seemed to be.

Thanks for your work.

One New Zealand Foundatuion Inc said...

First of all the Treaty draft was written by Janes Stephens the Under Secretary for Colonies, Lord Narmanby added a contridictory comment to it about Sovereignty as he did not know whether the tangata Maori had Sovereighty over New Zealand or not.

Second, how could the a people of hundreds of small tribes contantly at war with each other for territiories or the fun of war and the feasts that followed have Sovereight over New Zealand. This was explained by Chief Justice Sir James Prendergast in 1877 when he ruled, “So far indeed as that instrument (The Treaty of Waitangi) purported to cede the sovereignty it must be regarded as a ‘simple nullity’. No political body existed capable of making cession of sovereignty”.

Third, the Treaty of Waitangi was not our Founding Document. It was an agreement between the tanga Maori and Queen Victoria asking the tangata Maori to give up their kawanatanga/governments to the Queen and in return they would become, "British Subjects with the same righta as the people of England. No more - no less.

Our Founding Document was the 1840 Royal Charter issued by, "Victoria by the Grace of God" under, "The Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland"

Fourth, the Royal Charter of 1840 made New Zealand into a British Colony with a Governor and Constitution that set up our political, legal and justice systems under one flag and one law, irrespective of race, colour or creed. If you do not beleive me, then I suggest you do a little more research into our true history before Government destroys it.

Ross Baker ONZF said...

Reply to Empathic.

In 1869 the Native Department was asked to translate the Tiriti o Waitangi for the Legislative Council. This is their "Official" Tranlation.

Victoria, Queen of England, in Her kind thoughtfulness of the chiefs and Hapus of New Zealand, and Her desire to preserve to them their chieftainship and their lands, and that peace may always be kept with them and quietness, She has thought it a right thing that a Chief should be sent here as a negotiator with the Maoris of New Zealand – that the Maori of New Zealand may consent to the Government of the Queen of all parts of this land and the islands, because there are many of her tribe that have settled on this land and are coming hither. Now the Queen is desirous to establish the Government, that evil will not come to the Maori or the Europeans who are living without law.
Now the Queen has been pleased to send me, William Hobson, a Captain in the Royal Navy, to be Governor to all parts of New Zealand which may be given up now or hereafter to the Queen; and he give forth to the Chief of the assembly of the Hapus of New Zealand and other chiefs the laws spoken here.

The First
The Chiefs of the Assembly, and all chiefs also who have not joined the Assembly, give up entirely to the Queen of England forever all the Government of their lands.

The Second
The Queen of England arranges and agrees to give to the chiefs, the Hapus and all the people of New Zealand, the full chieftainship of their lands, their settlements and their property. But the Chiefs of the Assembly, and all other chiefs, gives to the Queen the purchase of those pieces of land which the proprietors may wish, for payment as may be agreed upon by them and the purchaser who is appointed by the Queen to be Her purchaser.

The Third
This is an arrangement for the consent to the Government of the Queen. The Queen of England will protect all the Maoris of New Zealand. All the rights will be given to them the same as Her doings to the people of England.

Signed, William Hobson, Consul and Lieutenant – Governor.

Now, we the Chiefs of the Assembly of the Hapus of New Zealand, now assembled at Waitangi. We, also the Chiefs of New Zealand, see the meaning of these words; they are taken and consented to altogether by us. Therefore, are attached our names and marks.

This done at Waitangi, on the six day of February, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, of our Lord.

Note. From the above, the Rev Henry Williams made 3 corrections in his translation to clarify whom Governor Hobson was referring. Two in the Preamble, “people of New Zealand” to “chiefs and Hapu of New Zealand” and “natives” to “tanagata Maori” In Article 3, “People of New Zealand” to “tangata maori of New Zealand”. He left “people of New Zealand” in Article 2 as this referred to all non-Maori. Rev Henry Williams also corrected Busby’s spelling of “sovereignty”. All back translations do not have the errors of the final draft and are all dated the 6 February 1840.

Over 500 chiefs signed the Tiriti o Waitangi as “tangata Maori” representing over 75,000 of their people. Not one “tangata Maori” chief questioned being referred to as “tangata Maori” as they knew they were not the “tangata whenua” or “indigenous people of New Zealand”.

Empathic said...

Reply to Ross Baker

Thanks for that. Interesting, as in Sir Apirana Ngata's 1922 translation this one only referred to 'rights' that would be given to Maori and not 'duties' or 'responsibilities', though again the rights provided to British subjects came with responsibilities.

It may be that a translation by Sir Apirana a highly respected Maori scholar will be more accepted, and perhaps more accurate, than that by a Mr Young of the Native Department of the Legislative Council. Sir Apirana's translation certainly reads better, but the two translations essentially say the same thing. The use by the Waitangi Tribunal of recent revised translations needs to be questioned.

Sir Apirana's translation was as follows:

"Victoria, the Queen of England, in Her feeling of affection towards the Chiefs of the Tribes of New Zealand and in Her desire to retain for them their Chieftainships and also that peace may reign and they live happily, has thought it wise to send a High Personage as Her representative to negotiate with the Maori people of New Zealand, the Maori Chiefs, to agree to the Government of the Queen having access to all parts of the land including the islands. This is by reason of the fact, that so many members of Her race were living in this land, and many more were coming. Now, the Queen has thought it good to send me, William Hobson, a Captain of the Royal Navy to be Governor for all parts of New Zealand, to be ceded now and for ever to the Queen and she invites the Chiefs of the assembled tribes of New Zealand and other Chiefs to accept the following provisions".

Article the First
These are the words of the first article of the Treaty of Waitangi. The First Article:
"The Chiefs assembled including Chiefs not present at the assembly hereby cede absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the Government of all of their lands"

Article the Second
This is the second article of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Second:
"The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes and to all the people of New Zealand the full possession of their lands, their homes and all their possessions, but the chiefs assembled and all other chiefs yield to the Queen the right to alienate such lands which the owners desire to dispose of at a price agreed upon between the owners and person or persons appointed by the Queen to purchase on her behalf".

"In consideration thereof, Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her Royal Protection, and imparts to them all the rights and privileges of British subjects".