Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Bruce Moon: “The whole truth and nothing but the truth” would be nice for a change would it not?

A heading in “The Post” for 15 December 2023 proclaims “The promise we should be keeping around the Treaty”.

It is followed by a picture of the recently defaced document in Te Papa being studied by two police officers and the caption “Protest group Te Waka Hourua deface a Te Papa exhibit displaying the English text of the Treaty of Waitangi.”

Well, it’s clearly up to the police to follow the trail of those people and charge them for defacing public property but the irony of it all is that this document is not, as is claimed, “the English text of the Treaty of Waitangi.”   It is actually one of James Freeman’s eight fakes merely used for an overflow of chiefs’ signatures at Waikato Heads when the intended document had not arrive there in time!  However, to return to Harris and his article ...

He is, it is said, a lawyer with Oxford degrees, based in “Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland” - wherever that is -  having returned in early 2021 to “Aotearoa New Zealand” - wherever that is.  He goes on to say that he “felt safer in New Zealand” than where he had been and also “excited”.  Well, that’s OK. I’m glad he feels safer here than where he’d been but in his excitement, he seems to have dropped off the “Aotearoa” bit which was,  perhaps, only a bit of window-dressing to start with!

He explains that he is “Excited to be in a country with its own founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the latter being the Māori version that most chiefs signed).”  Well, well!  Possibly his excitement clouded his comprehension just a little bit.  For one thing, whatever many learned people may say, whether the “Treaty” was or was not our “founding document” is really a non-question.[i]  It was a semi-formal document by which, beyond a shadow of doubt, the Maori chiefs ceded such sovereignty as each possessed to the Queen – and they knew it;[ii] all Maoris – their many slaves included – receiving in return the same rights as the people of England.  If you want to call it our “founding document” on the strength of that, then I suppose that you are allowed to do so. This was an enormous privilege granted to a people just emerging from a state of the utmost barbarity, in which they had killed and eaten nearly a third of their own population.  Nobody should forget that![iii]

Harris is upset, it appears, about the “Treaty Principles Bill” the “gist” of which, he says  “is about erasing tino rangatiratanga from NZ law and policy. That’s not spin”.

All right then.  Note first his slipping in the words “tino rangatiratanga” into a text otherwise in English.  Why, if he is writing in English does he slip in a word from somewhere else?  Note. friends, that this is a common trick of treaty-twisters, having been practised in the 1975 “Treaty of Waitangi Act”.  Does he not know, highly qualified lawyer as he appears to be, that plain language and clarity are paramount aspects in any legal or quasi-legal document?

So this term  “tino rangatiratanga”.   It was never a word in classic Maori speech, being first used, it appears, by Henry Williams, in translating some ephemeral documents dreamed up by Busby in the mid-1830s.  Of it, Phil Parkinson has said “Kawharu’s mistranslation of ‘tino rangatiratanga’ as ‘the unqualified exercise of chieftainship’ is not merely erroneous but preposterous. It was made explicit from the start of the Government that chieftainship – or “the power of the chiefs” - was qualified’ – prohibiting slavery, casual manslaughter and cannibalism.[iv]

Parkinson noted further that “tino rangatira” never became common usage, “a single late and remarkable exception” being its use as a title for Queen Victoria in a petition by some Rotorua residents”.  Durie, quoted by Parkinson acknowledged that “there is then, no single definition of tino rangatiratanga and little comfort can be derived from linguistic origins or simplistic notions about an 1840 understanding of sovereignty.”

So much for modern racists, waving around their so-called “tino rangatiratanga” flag and their false claims which go with it!  Mr Harris, please note!

Now where this term actually had some importance was in Article Second of the Treaty where the Williams used it, in default of a classic Maori term[v] as a translation of “possession” (of their lands, dwellings and all their property) in Hobson’s final text of 4th February 1840.  This was assured to “tangata katoa o Nu Tirani” which, Mr Harris may be assured, meant unequivocally “all the people of New Zealand” and “all” means “all”.

In the Treaty of Waitangi, “tino rangatiratanga” assured to Maoris absolutely nothing which was not assured to all the people of New Zealand.

While he might happen to believe it himself, when Mr Harris states, as reported, that “Tino rangatiratanga“ is what Māori are guaranteed in Article Two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and in te Tiriti it means absolute authority over Māori lands, villages, and other taonga (or treasures) he is grossly mistaken!

1. Maoris specifically are not even mentioned in Article second.

2. Article second says absolutely nothing about anybody’s “absolute authority” over anything!

3. “Taonga”, whose possession was assured to all, meant in 1840, simply ordinary “property”[vi]  This was also grossly mistranslated by Kawharu in his version since used in Cabinet business, using a claimed modern meaning.  Such a methodological error in persons as highly qualified as Kawharu and Harris must seem unforgivable to ordinary New Zealanders! (It is to me, anyway and I am one!)

The ACT party’s bill will, it may be hoped, clear up the wordy swamp in which we are now floundering.  If it doesn’t, our worthy elected representatives will have to try again!

Mr Harris may be happy to be back in “Godzone”.  I just wish he’d get his facts right before shooting his mouth off about the Treaty of Waitangi and related topics – or go back to the other side of the world where it appears that he did rather well for himself.

[i]      Though I do note that I referred to it as such in 2007! “Real Treaty; False treaty”, ISBN978-0-473-12575-2, p.36 
[ii]     Their words carefully recorded by Colenso at the time and checked by Busby; Colenso’s report readily “googled” 
[iii]    J.Robinson, “Unrestrained Slaughter: The Maori Musket Wars 1800-1840, ISBN9781872970680, 2020, gives details 
[iv]    B.Moon,  op.cit.
[v]     As New Zealand residents for 17 years, the Williams would certainly have known of such a word, had it existed! 
[vi]    W.Williams, “A Dictionary of the New Zealand Language”, 1844

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


Fred H. said...

Bruce Moon always writes factually, clearly, and honestly. It is a great pity that less educated contributors to the debate are much less so. I would hope that Bruce sends his writings on the Treaty period to the likes of Luxon, Seymour, and Peters, who all need to get off their backsides and facedown the gravy-train riders by scrapping the Waitangi Tribunal (a corrupt and biased organisation), adopting the real final English draft of the Treaty, and using the meaning of the words of the Treaty as existed when it was signed, not some latter day mischievous translation by a latter day charlatan.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Bruce and Fred H.

Anonymous said...

But Bruce, our successive governments since 1975 reckon 'WE CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH'.
They like to keep us in the dark and force feed us 'APARTHEID' as the only way forward, whether we like it or not.

I say NOT!!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately those with agendas will spin in debate, the meanings of these documents for their own benefit. This will never end. Time to put little time into it.

Kawena said...

Mr Harris might not have been around when some 80 plus books pertaining to the history of New Zealand for some reason or another were removed from libraries, schools, universities and museums some 45 odd years ago. Why? It is long past time to get to the truth of our history, warts and all! An acquaintance of mine, Tai, told me that he was glad that the English arrived when they did because we would have eaten each other up before now if they hadn't. Jim, my Ngapuhi friend, told me that when his ancestors arrived up in the north, the place was well populated, and not by Maori. Patupaiarehe (Ngati Hotu) and Waitaha were here before Maori and their descendants should be listened to as well. Leave no stone unturned. He Iwi Tahi Tatau, Let Us Be One People!

Anonymous said...

And when Te Papa replaces the defaced English version of the Treaty, I hope the Littlewood draft is used as the basis which all-but mirrors Te Tiriti. It's also interesting how the activists don't understand what the latter version actually says.

Anonymous said...

The removal of the books is akin to book burning. Let us refer to Wikipedia for an easy reference:

Book burning is the deliberate destruction by fire of books or other written materials, usually carried out in a public context. The burning of books represents an element of censorship and usually proceeds from a cultural, religious, or political opposition to the materials in question.[1] Book burning can be an act of contempt for the book's contents or author, intended to draw wider public attention to this opinion, or conceal the information contained in the text from being made public, such as diaries or ledgers.

Why have NZers say by and let this censorship happen? Truth replaced by propaganda. Do the current government really understand the enormity of the task in front of them?

Commentators like Bruce Moon and Mike Butler are critical to the historical survival of NZ. And no, this is not a contradiction in terms.