Monday, December 19, 2022

Bruce Moon: Challenging Charters

Associate Professor Claire Charters in full flight; the need to clip her wings!  Or, to change our metaphor slightly, yet another bright star in the New Zealand firmament is one Claire Charters, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Auckland.  It is she who has said that the (rat-eaten) “Treaty of Waitangi” “must continue to be the lighthouse on the shore guiding our way.”[i]

It was the said Ms Charters who had the privilege of delivering the Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture on 27 September 2022, having chaired the working group that produced the 2019 report “He Puapua”!

She is also director of the so-called “Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law."

H’m!  All that sounds interesting.  We’d better have a good look at the report of that lecture. 

It is curious that she should have such an interest.  Is it on an entirely false assumption that Maoris are indigenous to New Zealand?   We do hear that claim pretty often these days.  But it is false. Maoris are not indigenous New Zealanders. They are immigrants. Their own folklore (as well as science) tells us that. Do we need to say, yet again, that we know pretty accurately when they came here; we know accurately where they came from; we know very accurately how they got here – even to the extent of knowing the very names of their vessels – which I could quote but time is short!  Thus they are disqualified on all counts from being “indigenous” however much and however often part-Maori radicals of any genetic or intellectual persuasion may say so.

But Ms Charters herself:  The Jesson Lecture states that “[s]he has links to Ngāti Whakaue, Tūwharetoa, Ngā Puhi and Tainui”. However, as I understand it – and correct me if I am wrong – three of her grandparents have no Maori ancestry whatever!   So this woman of predominantly European descent to which she owes the privilege of learning to read and write (unknown entirely to pre-European Maoris) and of attending university, chooses a selective mention based on race!

It is a simple, albeit regrettable, observation that this assertion of being indigenous is all too common in academics who purport to be Maori to the exclusion of their non-Maori ancestors.  One such, on whom we had to make that point recently was Dr Peter Meihana of Massey University.  We quote a relevant part of that study, with appropriate change of pronouns of course![ii]

- would it be consistent with the alleged significance of her Maori family background to be clearly impolite and misleading? 

- is she embarrassed by her non-Maori heritage? Was it one or more unhappy unions across the races that gave rise to her? 

- has her non-Maori heritage led to no contributions to New Zealand?

- is she choosing to rewrite the nature of those relationships in order to justify her focusing on the Maori components only?

-  or  is it because the Maori aspect in some way entitles her to distort NZ history – which we discuss further below?

We invite Associate Professor Charters to address these questions – to comment on and clarify her family history and to explain her perspective.   We simply pose the questions. 

Well, to proceed to her topic which, as reported, states in part:

“She will critically examine various legal narratives that attempt to explain, or refute, the Crown’s claim to sovereignty over Aotearoa/New Zealand under tikanga Māori, British and international law.  Exposing the conflicts between these narratives and the legal myths on which many of them rely, she will then consider their implications for New Zealand’s constitution today.  She will argue that redressing the basic illegality and illegitimacy of the Crown’s historical claim to sovereignty might require a fundamental rethinking of New Zealand’s constitution.”  Well now, that’s ambition before which even Cæsar might have blanched!

So to the facts of the matter. 

There were multiple reasons why the British government should take an active interest in affairs in New Zealand.  One was of course the immigration impending on a large scale under the aegis of the New Zealand Company.[iii]  Equally important was the clearly expressed wish of far-seeing Maori chiefs for protection from the French and likewise from themselves.[iv] The appointment of Busby as British Resident had clearly been insufficient to achieve this.  There was a straightforward and elegant solution: the formal recognition of British sovereignty.  The temper of the time required that this be by formal cession by the Maori chiefs.

There was a difficulty, succinctly expressed in Colonial Secretary, Lord Normanby’s 4200 word brief to Hobson: “we acknowledge New Zealand as a sovereign ... state so far .. as is possible [for] a people composed of numerous ... petty tribes, who possess few political relations to each other.”  The way to resolve this was to obtain written agreement to the cession of sovereignty by as many chiefs as was feasible “expressed according to their established usages”.  This necessity was in turn clearly stated by Hobson at the great meeting at Waitangi on that fateful day, 5th February 1840: “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.

Now of course, as everybody knows, Hobson, a plain-speaking sailor, drafted a straightforward document for this purpose on 4th February; it was translated overnight by the Williams, father and son, checked in the morning and presented to the meeting subsequently when both Maori and English texts were read out.  Many bi-lingual speakers, both English and Maori, were present and nobody said that they said different things.

One of the difficulties facing the Williams was that the Maori language did not have words expressing crucial concepts precisely, in particular “sovereignty”.  They chose “kawanatanga”.  Thus:

What Article First in the Treaty of Waitangi says, in part, is that the chiefs “cede to the Queen of England  for ever the entire Sovreignty [sic] of their country”[v].   Well, the bush lawyers and self-defined-Maori academics and their henchmen and fellow-travellers tear into this like lions eating Christians on a Roman holiday.  One thing they don’t seem to mind is Hobson’s referral to the Queen as “the Queen of England”.    Her actual rather long title (which we forebear to quote here) does no such thing, rather referring to “Great Britain” amongst other places.  However, that doesn’t seem to matter.  Everybody knew what was meant. 

What they do get their teeth into is “kawanatanga” which they repeatedly claim meant only “governorship”, because that is what it is so obviously derived from.  But here is the academic fact to which they are so blind: translation is not the same as derivation.  Many examples may be cited from many pairs of languages.[vi]

“Kawanatanga” which the chiefs ceded completely and forever to the Queen was “sovereignty”, or at least such sovereignty as each might be considered to have possessed and they knew it!   That they knew it is amply verified by their words on that fateful day, 5th February 1840, faithfully recorded at the time by Colenso  and checked by Busby, both competent speakers of the Ngapuhi dialect.[vii]

The critical point is that whatever the chiefs’ concept of “sovereignty” may have been or to what degree they exercised it, their recorded words establish beyond doubt that they understood that by signing Hobson’s document they would become subordinate to him, as Governor, and a fortiori to the Queen.  They would cede sovereignty.

Nowhere, simply nowhere, have I heard a reference by Charters and her ilk to this compelling evidence!

Seven chiefs spoke in favour of signing, seven against.  I refer the reader to Colenso’s account in full.  As one example, Tareha, chief of Ngatirehia, is recorded as saying in part in a quite lengthy speech: “the Governor up high up, up, up, as this tall paddle (at which he held up a common canoe paddle) and I down, under, beneath!  No, no, no.  I will never say, “Yes, stay”.

Even if they didn’t have a concept of sovereignty (and hence lacked a word for it) and what they surrendered was  “governorship”, then as that was the most absolute concept they knew (with each tribe a law unto itself) it is a hollow argument that they did not cede sovereignty because they did not know that it existed!

The seven who spoke against all signed, all but one the very next day.

Even more chilling, indeed sinister, is the false statement in the new history curriculum for schools that the chiefs and the governor would be equals under the Queen, as I was informed at an all-day seminar on that topic in Nelson on 8th November 2022.

If Charters does not know all this, as a senior academic, what should we conclude?

If she does know it and says nothing of it, what should we conclude?  She is not alone in all this sort of thing, alas.  In fact there is quite a chorus of female voices: Reddy, Mutu, Salmond, Morrison, Kelsey, Orange – to name a few – making similar false denials and conspicuous omissions of recorded historical fact.[viii]   Check the facts for yourselves, ladies,  and don’t dare call me a male chauvinist!!

Need we look further into what she says?  Well here is a bit more:

“As Professor Bruce Harris succinctly puts it, it remains ‘unclear how legal sovereignty passed’.”

Well succinct he may be but Professor Harris had better do some more homework before making such statements. Hint: start with Article First in the Treaty of Waitangi.

“Moana Jackson concludes: So what Māori did ... was grant to the Crown the right of kāwanatanga over the Crown’s own people . . . The Crown could then exercise its kāwanatanga over all European settlers, but the authority to control and exercise power over Māori stayed where it had always been, with the iwi.”  Well conclude it he may have done, but it is a gross distortion of the truth. Nothing in the treaty says this.

Charters continues with: “This matters because it illuminates the type of thinking needed to post-facto legitimate and legalise Aotearoa New Zealand’s constitution.”,

“Aotearoa”?   Where does that come from apart from Messrs Pember Reeves and S. Percy Smith? The Treaty says “Niu Tirani”. 

That aside, it will be news to most New Zealanders that what Jackson and others say “matters ... to post-facto legitimate and legalise ... New Zealand’s constitution.” It will be news to most of us that in Charters’ learned opinion our present constitution is illegitimate and illegal!  (Oh, yes! “Post facto” means “after the event”.  To think that for all these years ... ... !)

Well into her stride, she continues with: “Without transformative change, New Zealand’s constitution will continue to perpetuate the fundamental injustice of colonial subjugation of Māori and the illegal imposition of authority by the Crown, contrary to the rule of law.”  That, friends, is grossly false.

“Some elements might include clear spheres for Māori jurisdictional autonomy, where we can practise our tino rangatiratanga, mana motuhake, and self-determination.”  More rousing words, eh?

“This might include exclusive authority over some spaces such as marae or other distinctively Māori areas including territories currently in the conservation estate, such as rivers and mountains.” Not much there really!

And her rousing conclusion: “Aotearoa New Zealand needs to confront the injustices of our past and the ongoing impacts today. That starts with confronting the myth of sovereignty.”

Yeah, right, fellow Kiwis! That’s all we have to do! But it ignores history and the very reasons that motivated her Maori ancestral chiefs to enter into the Treaty – to protect themselves from each other and the French and to protect everyone from land scams.  I think most of us can recognize raw propaganda when we see it.

The evidence is there.  Associate Professor Charters has used the prestigious occasion of a Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture as a soap-box to promulgate crude political rhetoric.


[i]“Newsroom”“Ideasroom” 19/4/ 2020, quoted in B.Moon, “New Zealand; the fair colony”,ISBN 978-0-473-53728-9

[ii]“Breaking Views”, 6 December 2022

[iii]Indeed the first such settlers arrived in Wellington one week before Hobson got here.

[iv]e.g. letter from 13 Ngapuhi chiefs to King William, 16 November 1831

[v]The wording in Hobson’s final draft of 4th February, translated by the Williams’ father and son, to “ka tuku rawa atu ki te Kuini o Ingarani ake tonu atu-te Kawanatanga katoa o o ratou wenua.

[vi]e.g. B.Moon, “New Zealand; the fair colony”, 2nd ed., ISBN 978-0-473-53728-9, 2020, p. 68

[vii]W. Colenso, (full reference available)

[viii]Full references are, of course, available!

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


Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Claire Charters - pffft - and any other ersatz Maori, grasping the chance to make an academic rep, having nothing more genuine to study. There is an issue with Maori - the greedy iwi leaders who do - or care - little for their uneducated criminogenic underclass, but truthfully it is all the ignorant, handwringing, 'guilty' pakeha that need to get real - examine the facts that you - and others, are at pains to put before them, and cease to burden modern Maori with crippling feelings of victimhood.
The truth is Maori were truly fortunate to have their language put into written form, to obtain all the physical comforts of food, warmth, technology - and they made the most of it at first. They were strong, energetic, enterprising (murderous of their own-oops). I think it has been the English tendency to apologise that is doing us all in - the truly stupid woke - especially in our own judiciary.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I speak for many when I say I can't thank you enough Bruce. I have read quite a lot of contemporary reports from our early history. My pioneer settlers had a trading station at Cloudy Bay and Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata were their customers. Cecil and Cecilia Manson wrote two books that cover their/our family settlement history using historical records.
The revisionists need to be challenged more by more people and more openly. So it's good to see this and I hope you feel supported and valued.

Anonymous said...

Very well said Bruce. I suspect nothing but silence to your queries of Ms Charters. It's a disgrace that she and the likes of Jacinta Ruru et al, from their cloistered positions get to fill the young minds of New Zealanders with their utter crapola and, worse, that our Government permits, nay actively encourages, this tosh. Thank you for calling it out.

Anonymous said...

another great article bruce its great to get the other side of the racist crap that gets all the mainstream news thks to msm seems now if you fill a column with long words nobody understands say it often enough then it must be true

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

You can't trust a word of what those 'experts' say because they were mostly appointed on race/sex grounds rather than academic merit and are flag-bearers for the marxofascist ideological movement that has hijacked so much of western academe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another finely-argued article Bruce. I greatly appreciate the work that learned men and women such as yourself do for free on this and similar sites.
Recently, the Herald quoted either Jim Bolger or Doug Graham saying something like: “If the parties had intended that the Crown and Maori would share power, then the treaty would have said so.”
This struck me as common sense. It is safe to assume that the chiefs assembled at Waitangi were not fools. Why would any of them, let alone 13 out of 14, sign an important document that did not plainly state that power was to be shared, if that was what had been agreed?

Anna Mouse said...

Any person that uses race or ethnicity to promulgate their ideas whilst ignoring historical record to divide one human from another is an apartheidist.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable how a Maori, or so she claims, such as Charters can distort the true facts. Do these people think we are blind, deaf, dumb to what is being perpetuated in this land, New Zealand. Who are the politicians that WE elect, are going to say, finally all treaty settlements are settled, no court, judge, politician nor private person shall open discussion again on a topic that has been thrashed, pillaged, and distorted. The subject is closed.

Anonymous said...

The NZ Herald notes that Arden “appears in trailer for Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s new Netflix documentary” celebrating inspirational leaders. How do they define Inspirational?

Anonymous said...

The pakeha seem to believe that if they marry a maori there kids aren't Maori because they believe that a maori should have pure maori blood but we all know ow science has proven there never was a pure race on planet earth...