Sunday, January 21, 2024

Michael Bassett: TV One's beat-up on the Treaty and the King's hui

Last Friday night, TV One’s lead item on the 6pm news was a story by reporter Te Aniwa Hurihanganui. She had scored a leaked piece of advice not yet considered by Cabinet that was intended to warn ministers in the new government that they would run into trouble with Maori if they backed David Seymour’s planned legislation to define in law the oft-mentioned principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Coming the day before a major hui at Ngaruawahia called by King Tuheitia, Te Aniwa was intent on maximising irritation among Maori about the new government’s Maori policy.

TV One told the nation that the government intended to “re-write” the Treaty, a gross over-dramatisation of anything signalled by Seymour. Integral to her story were inflammatory statements from Tainui’s Tuku Morgan, he of the $89 dollar pair of silk underpants, and from Professor Margaret Mutu who loves nothing more than a stoush with authority. Little evidence was supplied to support Te Aniwa’s claims about government policy or to justify the inflammatory rants from Morgan and Mutu.

What Seymour had done was to try to distil the essence from the 157-word Treaty as translated in 1986 by Sir Hugh Kawharu from the Maori version signed by the Crown at Waitangi in 1840. Seymour’s reason for doing so was that over the last few years, and especially during the Ardern-Hipkins government, a small group of Maori agitators have been messing around with the words of the Treaty, re-interpreting them regularly, and claiming that the simple document justifies any extravagant demand they wish to advance. From Kawharu’s translation, Seymour concluded that Article One meant that the New Zealand Government has the right to govern all New Zealanders. Article Two meant that the government would honour all New Zealanders in the chieftainship of their land and all their property. And in Article Three, all New Zealanders are equal under the law with the same rights and duties. Any reasonable person with Kawharu’s translation in her/his hands and a modest understanding of the English language would realise that this, in essence, is what the Treaty is about. It was that pre-eminent Maori scholar Sir Apirana Ngata’s understanding of the Treaty in his widely circulated 1922 comments on the subject. And it was King Tuheitia’s mother, the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikahu’s understanding, when I chaired the 1990 Commission and gained her approval of Sir Hugh Kawharu’s translation in her capacity as the Commission’s patron.

What this all means is that government bureaucrats in the relevant department, plus Te Aniwa Hurihanganui, TV One, Tuku Morgan and Margaret Mutu et al were engaged in a deliberate beat-up before King Tuheitia’s hui. They might well have helped swell the crowd at Ngaruawahia on Saturday, but so far as I could see, little enlightenment seems to have emerged from the speeches. Indeed, a fair degree of confusion was the order of the day. Some claimed the new government was “underpinned by white supremacy”. Others abused the Prime Minister for not showing up to the hui, ignoring the fact that he’d had a session with the King earlier in the week, and had sent his Maori Development Minister, Tama Potaka, and the chair of Parliament’s Maori Affairs Committee, Dan Bidois, to the hui, both of them Maori, and both of them well positioned to influence any legislation when it emerges.

After hours of speechifying, the King wound up proceedings. It was intended that he should read his speech signed off by Tuku Morgan. But he adlibbed so frequently, taking a pot shot at Morgan along the way, that nothing of substance emerged except that the King didn’t want any legislation from Seymour. King Tuheitia said “There’s no principles” (despite many pieces of existing legislation referring to them) “the Treaty is written. That’s it. What I want is the Treaty to be engrossed [sic] in the law…so they can’t change nothing [sic]. Don’t look at the courts to understand the Treaty, look to the marae.” In other words, the King means that any amplification of the meaning of the Treaty should come from Maori, and no one else. It was yet another version of the dictum imposed by the Ardern- Hipkins government, without any authority given them at election time, that 17% of the population are allowed to control the other 83%. No mention that at the recent election the wider New Zealand public roundly defeated the idea of co-governance weighted in favour of Maori.

No doubt the mischief-making by Te Aniwa Hurihanganui, the bureaucrats, and the likes of Morgan and Mutu will continue through the festivities at Ratana Pa, the opening of Parliament and Waitangi Day. If Te Aniwa has her way, she will misuse the publicly-owned TV One to fan hot spots until someone in the new government has sufficient fortitude to face down stirrers within the bureaucracy and the media. The Treaty is NOT the plaything of radical Maori. These small islands are home to one nation, not two. We are all members of one team. Unless Maori leaders cease their recent attempts to re-write the Treaty which belongs to ALL New Zealanders, then some form of legislation or even a referendum is inevitable, and necessary.

Historian Dr Michael Bassett, a Minister in the Fourth Labour Government, blogs HERE. - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely just because of a lot of people misunderstanding 2 important ISSUES 1: RACISIM..
RACISIM is When 1 CULTURE is treated differently to the other ethnicities. WE HAVE 159 ethnicities and Maori..
Which has led to APARTHEID.
SEGREGATION is Rife..MAORI PARTY, MAORI SCHOOLS, MAORI HEALTH, MAORI COURTS, MAORI WARDS. MAORI HOUSING, and many more infact why we must get rid of 96 ACTS introduced since 1975. These All must be wound back these are Seperatist Radical Tribal Tacover ACTS written in to add fuel to the APARTHEID fire burning within Our once great country ..GREED IS WHAT IS AT THE ROOT OF MOST OF OUR PROBLEMS

Anonymous said...

It seems hard to disagree with a literal translation from te reo Maori version. Kawanatanga means governance.

Robert Arthur said...

Presumably the king will be happy if all references to the Principles are dropped. Very many others, myself included, will rejoice with him. But many artful maori will be peeved having manipulated for decades for the vaguewording, mada as it is for interpretation however maori desire.

Anonymous said...

To be exact:

A separatist system - but funded by the NZ tax-payer. Not by the Maori economy.

Hazel Modisett said...

Lock & load. A war is coming...

Anonymous said...

There was no need for Kawharu’s bias translation for the Waitangi Tribunal when our Government had access to the 1869 OFFICIAL Back Translation from the Original Maori Treaty by Mr T E Young, Native Department.
The only reason the Government and their paid academics (Orange) say the “Littlewood Treaty” (Busby’s Final Draft dated the 4th of February 1840) is not the final English Draft is because it is not signed?? WTF!!
I completely agree with Anon@1.30 that we have to go back to the beginning of this “APARTHEID ROT” and follow the advice of Geoffrey Palmer when he stated, “It is true the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and all the other statutes, which give explicit recognition to the treaty are not entrenched. They can be swept away by a simple majority in Parliament”. (This after he left parliament and realized the wrong he and the fourth Labour Government had done with the apartheid reforms they had done)

I blame our successive Governments since 1970 for ALLOWING apartheid to take root and flourish. None of them were working in the best interests for ALL the people of New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

Seems to be a potential complaint to the BSA. No impartiality and incorrect to say the treaty would be rewritten.

As for the leaker, that person needs to be sacked. The govt must be able to trust the public service and the advise they give is secure.

Anonymous said...

The Littlewood ‘Treaty’ was not signed because it was the document prepared to become the ToW. The Maori version is what was signed but as Hobson didn’t speak Maori then it was put together in English to Hobson’s satisfaction and translated into Maori by highly skilled speakers of both languages. It is a nonsense to ‘translate’ the Maori document back into English and say that is the English version.

Put it another way - do you close your eyes then go to sleep or do you go to sleep then close your eyes? ( and if any one chooses to get tricky on this simple question, then there we have it, the absurdities of the ToW.)

Hazel Modisett said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
A Note to Hazel Modisett -

- You need to find Families that came from South Africa to NZ, at the height of the emergence of the Africa National Congress/ANC & return of Nelson Mandella and the Years that followed, and ask them why they left and then ask them with what they have seen with Maoridom since 2017, would they move away from NZ?

I have known many Sth Africans (both black & white) since the 70s & have travelled to SA myself in the mid 80s. The comparison in this instance is in the reverse with Maori being VASTLY outnumbered. I am part Ngapuhi myself & perhaps 5% of my Maori friends & relations support this nonsense. The threats from the radicals are not only baseless, but toothless & if Luxon wimps out, I fear we will soon see a terrible backlash.

Peter said...

Yes, it was indeed a disgraceful beat-up of no real substance.

'Underpants' Morgan and the other part-Maori activists want the only Treaty to be the Maori one. To that I say, absolutely! Now hand back the fisheries and forestries you inappropriately received via another Waitangi Tribunal rort based on a false version of the Treaty that some politicians legislated into law, without the mandate of the public.

And let's not forget Maori had no written language and the ‘Treaty’ certainly didn't just materialise out of thin air, because it had to come from an English draft first. That draft is, undoubtedly, what is now known as the 'Littlewood' treaty, or more correctly, ‘draft’. Neither Ngata, nor Kawerau, had the benefit of that document when they produced their translations many decades (in the latter’s case well more than a century) later. And had those gentlemen had that benefit, they would have surely agreed it's an extremely close translation of what was ultimately prepared and now known as, Te Tiriti.

As for the various purported experts Hurihanganui spoke to supporting the leaked Ministry ‘draft’ document, what a joke. She went round the normal partisan activists like Prof. Mutu, and found some other more pakeha looking ring-in, all wearing the obligatory piece of pounamu, which somehow, subliminally is to signify their expertise and authority. The leaked document referred to the “partnership” of Maori and the Crown, a word or concept not stated in any version of the Treaty, nor mentioned at the original signing as recorded by Colenso at the time, nor was it again mentioned some two decades later a Kohimarama - all of which bringing into question the veracity and knowledge of the author of the Ministry’s draft and those commenting on it?

But Underpants and co. now demand no redefinition of the Treaty and want its recently manufactured ‘principles’ to remain undefined. That’s because, as usual, they want the flexibility to be able to redefine what they all mean as circumstances dictate, when they want to score some more largesse from the hapless taxpayer.

In sum, TV1’s broadcast; the spectacle of the crowds and non(fluent)-reo speaking reputed ‘King’ at Ngaruawahia; and, Underpants’ et al bluster, are all akin to a Haka – like a child remonstrating, pulling faces and hoping to intimidate, but with nothing really of substance.

This part-Maori cohort of opportunists would do well to remember - be careful what you wish for, or in your case demand. For, neither 10,000, nor ten (or even a 100) times that number will ultimately cut it, but don’t be at all surprised if they chance their arm.

I say, bring it on, for this so desperately needs to be settled, once and for all.

Scott said...

Should the government be funding TV1? I'd get the government out of funding Tv1 and radio NZ. Make them survive on their own merits.