How can we build Heartland New Zealand’s understanding of the Treaty?

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Continuing our series for discussion from the c.200 video clips we assembled from interviews of 60 New Zealanders, this week we hear from Andrew London, musician. He talks about the differences between attitudes toward the treaty and race relations in provincial towns as opposed to Wellington; the home of government which has driven the modernisation of the treaty’s role. 

In short Andrew laments the difference and hopes that small town New Zealand especially does ‘catch up’. He acknowledges his own struggles to keep abreast of the post-1975 changes and like many folk suggests he’s just too busy with work and family to take notice and keep up with what Wellington has been up to.

The question he raises though is how might “Heartland” New Zealand become more progressive on these fundamental changes to the role of the Treaty? How can we ensure Maori culture and institutions have an enduring place in our society, and respect from Pakeha not just at “haka” time but every day? How, in other words do our children grow up to be at ease or at home with what both societies have to offer, rather than thinking their parent’s way is the only way?

There are many dimensions to answering this. They range from a growing familiarity with te reo as all New Zealand schools are now promoting; to being taught the history of New Zealand from pre-1840, to post-treaty betrayal, to negotiated settlements of treaty breaches, to honouring the treaty going forward; to the value of connection and respect between cultures.

But it all seems miles away from the types of observations Andrew makes of on-the-street behaviour in the “heartland”.

Is progress by necessity evolutionary rather than revolutionary? What – if anything – can be done to get there sooner?

How can we build Heartland New Zealand’s understanding of the Treaty? was last modified: December 15th, 2015 by Gareth Morgan
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Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

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Gareth Morgan is a New Zealand economist and commentator on public policy who in previous lives has been in business as an economic consultant, funds manager, and professional company director. He is also a motorcycle adventurer and philanthropist. Gareth and his wife Joanne have a charitable foundation, the Morgan Foundation, which has three main stands of philanthropic endeavour – public interest research, conservation and social investment.