Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Roger Childs: ‘Honour the Treaty!’ But which one?

There is only one

As readers know the so-called “Treaty in English” was recently graffitied at Te Papa. One thing I am in agreement with the protest group Te Waka Hourua on is that there is only one Treaty – Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

So why do the Waitangi Tribunal, some historians and many Maori activists claim that there is an English text of the Treaty? If there was such a thing, it would be an exact English version of the Maori text.

In reality Te Tiriti in English is James Busby’s English draft which was given to fluent Maori speakers Henry and Edward Williams to translate into the Ngapuhi dialect on 4 February 1840. Their translation became Te Tiriti o Waitangi which over 500 Native leaders signed over the next few months starting in Waitangi on 6 February 1840. Busby’s English draft never circulated as a “Treaty”.

So where does the text of the (now heavily defaced) English version hanging on a wall in Te Papa come from?

Two contenders for the English version

People often get confused, misunderstand or misquote the Treaty. In looking for an English “version” there are two starters.
  1. The Busby draft, mentioned above, which the Williams missionaries faithfully translated into Maori for Native leaders to sign. (This draft can be found in the New Zealand Archives building in Wellington and is often referred to as The Littlewood Treaty.)
  2. The so-called “Treaty of Waitangi in English” which is sometimes referred to as “Freeman’s Treaty”. (This version is hanging on the Te Papa wall and the text is used by the Waitangi Tribunal.)
Essential differences

The Busby draft when translated into the Ngapuhi dialect became Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This Treaty was between Queen Victoria and the Native Chiefs and Tribes, and “all the people of New Zealand” (ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani.)

Freeman’s Treaty is between Queen Victoria and the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and nobody signed it.

This “Treaty” is longer than the Busby’s draft and Freeman:
  • added” Estates, Forests, Fisheries” to the possessions in Article 2
  • omitted “all the people of New Zealand” from Article 2 and “all the ordinary people of New Zealand” from Article 3.
The Tribunal’s erroneous claim

On its website the Waitangi Tribunal claims “This English text (Freeman’s) was signed at Waikato Heads in March or April 1840 and at Manukau Harbour on 26 April. A total of 39 chiefs signed.” This claim is false.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi was read to the chiefs in Te Reo at gatherings at Waikato Heads and Manukau. “Freeman’s Treaty” which was in English, was not read out, and if it had been, it would not have been understood as the chiefs did not know English.

There was not enough space on the Te Tiriti document for the signatures and marks of all the chiefs. So the Maori leaders were directed to sign at the bottom of a copy of Freeman’s Treaty, which just happened to be there, and had space for overflow “signatures” for Te Tiriti.

The Native chiefs would have put their signatures or marks there if the document had been written in German or Sanskrit, because that’s what they were asked to do. They were signing because they accepted what had been read to them–Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Why is the Busby draft known as the Littlewood Treaty?

In 1840 Henry Littlewood was the lawyer for James Clendon, US Consul and a friend of James Busby and William Hobson. The draft for the Treaty which Henry and Edward Williams translated into the Nga Puhi dialect was written by Busby on 4 February, and the original of the draft somehow remained in Littlewood’s possession. Other previous notes and drafts had been discarded.

In 1989 members of the Littlewood family were sorting out the estate of their late mother and found it.

The Littlewood document has an impeccable and unimpeachable provenance:
  • It has the date February 4 on it.
  • It has the exact wording in English of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • The paper has a rare letterhead watermark “W. Tucker 1833”, and came from James Clendon’s house, where the final draft was written.
  • Phil Parkinson at New Zealand Archives testified in 2000 that in his view it was written by James Busby.
In 2022 lawyer Ned Fletcher wrote a huge book — 723 pages long — “The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi”. Incredibly he makes no reference to the Littlewood Treaty. On page 1 he honestly and openly reveals his ignorance: “The draft given to Henry Williams to translate is generally believed to be lost…“

The three “Treaty articles” in Busby’s draft

These outline exactly what Te Tiriti o Waitangi states in Te Reo.

Article the First
The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the other Chiefs who have not joined the Confederation cede to the Queen of England for ever the entire Sovereignty of their country.

Article the Second
Her Majesty 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, dwellings, and all their property. But the Chiefs of the confederation Tribes and the other Chiefs grant to the Queen the exclusive right of purchasing such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to sell at such prices as shall be agreed upon between them and the persons appointed to purchase from them.

Article the Third
In return for the cession of the sovereignty to the Queen of England the people of New Zealand will be protected by the Queen of England and the rights and privileges of British subjects will be granted to them.

If Te Papa does want the “English version” of the Treaty on its walls, why not be honest with the viewing public and feature the Busby draft which when translated into Maori became Te Tiriti o Waitangi?

for those into Te Reo Maori —

Treaty of Waitangi in Maori

This text was signed at Waitangi on 6 February 1840, and thereafter in the north and at Auckland. The Maori is reproduced as it was written.

Click to view

See all the sheets containing the te reo Māori text of Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi in Archives NZ.


Ko Wikitoria te Kuini o Ingarani i tana mahara atawai ki nga Rangatira me nga Hapu o Nu Tirani i tana hiahia hoki kia tohungia ki a ratou o ratou rangatiratanga me to ratou wenua, a kia mau tonu hoki te Rongo ki a ratou me te Atanoho hoki kua wakaaro ia he mea tika kia tukua mai tetahi Rangatira — hei kai wakarite ki nga Tangata maori o Nu Tirani — kia wakaaetia e nga Rangatira maori te Kawanatanga o te Kuini ki nga wahikatoa o te wenua nei me nga motu — na te mea hoki he tokomaha ke nga tangata o tona Iwi Kua noho ki tenei wenua, a e haere mai nei.

Na ko te Kuini e hiahia ana kia wakaritea te Kawanatanga kia kaua ai nga kino e puta mai ki te tangata maori ki te Pakeha e noho ture kore ana.

Na kua pai te Kuini kia tukua a hau a Wiremu Hopihona he Kapitana i te Roiara Nawi hei Kawana mo nga wahi katoa o Nu Tirani e tukua aianei amua atu ki te Kuini, e mea atu ana ia ki nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga o nga hapu o Nu Tirani me era Rangatira atu enei ture ka korerotia nei.

Ko te tuatahi
Ko nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa hoki ki hai i uru ki taua wakaminenga ka tuku rawa atu ki te Kuini o Ingarani ake tonu atu — te Kawanatanga katoa o o ratou wenua.

Ko te tuarua
Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangatira ki nga hapu – ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa. Otiia ko nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa atu ka tuku ki te Kuini te hokonga o era wahi wenua e pai ai te tangata nona te wenua — ki te ritenga o te utu e wakaritea ai e ratou ko te kai hoko e meatia nei e te Kuini hei kai hoko mona.

Ko te tuatoru
Hei wakaritenga mai hoki tenei mo te wakaaetanga ki te Kawanatanga o te Kuini — Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata maori katoa o Nu Tirani ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani.

[signed] W. Hobson Consul & Lieutenant Governor

Na ko matou ko nga Rangatira o te Wakaminenga o nga hapu o Nu Tirani ka huihui nei ki Waitangi ko matou hoki ko nga Rangatira o Nu Tirani ka kite nei i te ritenga o enei kupu. Ka tangohia ka wakaaetia katoatia e matou, koia ka tohungia ai o matou ingoa o matou tohu.

Ka meatia tenei ki Waitangi i te ono o nga ra o Pepueri i te tau kotahi mano e waru rau e wa te kau o to tatou Ariki.

Ko nga Rangatira o te Wakaminenga

[Transcript of handwritten original in Archives New Zealand/Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga, Wellington Office. (Ref: IA9/9)]

Roger Childs is a retired teacher who taught History, Social Studies and Geography for 40 years. This article was first published HERE


robert Arthur said...

A survey of the degree of public knowledge and acceptance of the above now oft repeated facts would be interesting. I suspect few are aware of and recognition by maori even less as are more thoroughly brain washed by their activists (who think aspects of the official English can be evaded whilst others retained ie forest and fisheries). For those not served by the public subsidised marae propaganda network, about the only way of widely establishing public "knowledge" is through the education system, as maori well realise and hence the current corrupt syllabus.

Anonymous said...

On the 17th of February 1840 the C.M.S. Mission press produced 200 printed copies of the Maori language treaty, as a paid consignment ordered by Hobson. There was no production of an "official" English treaty text, as there wasn't one. Subsequently, ALL of the large, handwritten copies of the Treaty of Waitangi, commissioned and produced by the government, then officially sent to the treaty signing assemblies around New Zealand, were in the Maori language and there were no departures from this strict practice.

Some will try to argue that the English language document that received signatures at Waikato Heads on 11/4/1840, as well as at Manukau on 26/4/1840 is an exception, but this is not the case. The only document ever officially issued by the government and intended to be used at Manukau and Waikato Heads now goes by the title of the Kawhia Treaty, which was in the Maori language. Because it did not arrive in time for his meeting, Reverend Robert Maunsell innovated and used a "printed Maori" text for presentation to the assembled chiefs and allowed overflow signatures to spill onto a ruined Formal Royal Style English copy, produced solely for overseas despatch, which had come into his possession. Later, the Maori text sheet (with 5 signatures) was affixed atop the English sheet and the two unauthorised pieces of paper sent to Hobson as one, with the Maori language sheet representing the text presented and the large, scrap, English sheet merely a repository for overflow signatures.

So who separated the pinned and waxed ‘printed Maori text’ (Kawhia Treaty) from Freeman’s ruined Formal Royal Style English Overseas Despatch Copy used to collect an overflow of 39 Maori Chiefs signatures, and then claimed that this document ALONE is the "Treaty in English"?

Anonymous said...

The NZ Herald (14 December 2023) stated that Mr Seymour's Treaty
principles had been revised so as to be closer to the actual wording of the 3 Articles. See below:

First version
1.All NZ citizens have the same political rights and duties
2.All political authority comes from the people by democratic means, including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot
3.NZ is a multi-ethnic liberal democracy where discrimination based on ethnicity is illegal.

Revised version
1. The NZ govt has the right to govern NZ.
2. The NZ govt will protect all NZers’ authority over their land and other property.
3. All NZers are equal under the law with the same rights and duties.

When (if) a national debate takes place, these will certainly be challenged by those espousing the " partnership" interpretation of the Treaty, along with non-cession of sovereignty by Maori and the equal status of Tikanga as part of the legal system.

Clarity of definitions and of supporting evidence will be vital to inform and convince unaware citizens.

But even so, some people will refuse to accept a version that does not suit their political goals.

Anonymous said...

This article should replace the defaced document alongside Te Tiriti ie the Maori language document.