Aotearoa New Zealand: we need to talk

Gareth MorganTreaty11 Comments

Morgan Foundation’s Nick Tansley went to Taranaki to join the ‘Peace Walk’ hikoi for the first day. He asked some of the people involved what motivated them to take part in the walk. As you’ll see they want to start a conversation with the whole country about how we heal the past and move forward together. The people of Taranaki are sending the rest of the country a message, the only question is whether we will listen.

It is great to see this happening, the messages coming through are the same as we found in the Talk Treaty project, which interviewed more than 50 prominent New Zealanders about the Treaty. During this research we discovered that the central idea of the Treaty is that we agreed to share this country, look after each other and talk through our issues. It is time to talk.

Aotearoa New Zealand: we need to talk was last modified: June 16th, 2016 by Gareth Morgan
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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.

11 Comments on “Aotearoa New Zealand: we need to talk”

        1. the Maori translation goes out of its way to assure signatories that they maintain some level of control over their lands, and that is certainly the only terms anyone would expect them to agree to. Ensuring Maori representation in governance seems like a natural way to fulfill that clause.

          You could instead look to the English version. This is completely disingenuous, but let’s consider it anyway. It that case Maori are guaranteed ownership of their lands as property, however if they choose to sell, they must offer to the crown first. Now any land that we cannot prove was sold by Maori, willingly and with understanding of exactly what that entails, should default back to them.

          So you can either interpret the treaty in a way that means Maori have assured representation in governance (to a capacity far exceeding what is seen today) or that we owe piles of land and cash. If the treaty was interpreted strictly as a legal document, in a way that is consistent both with modern and historical aspects of law, we need to do both.

          1. Owen
            The treaty was between the “Government” of the Maori and the “Government” of the Pakeha

            In the ensuing years the Maori people have voted with their feet and are no longer under the “Governance” of their old Iwi
            Current Iwi have no more “governance” of their people than the old Clan Chiefs have over the Scots
            Effectively BOTH sides of the original treaty are now the Government of New Zealand

            I have more sympathy with your talk about land ownership – but why should the New Zealand people pay for something that profited an individual? – why not ask his heirs to pay?

            While we are at it which Maori actually owned the land?
            The ones who had been on that land for hundreds of years or the ones that had used muskets to conquer it in the decade before the treaty??

            The old Maori Iwi were smart people – when they signed the treaty they knew that they were getting British recognition that THEY were the “owners” of their land –
            That acted to stop the churn – or else some of the other Maori Iwi would have been lining them up in the sights of their own recently acquired muskets

          2. My point was that, by the Maori translation of the treaty, which in light of how contract law works in this country is what should be followed, we all live under Iwi governance by virtue of being here – same as we are also under crown governance.

            While most Maori no longer live in traditional Iwi structure, many still identify with certain Iwi. And even if they have “voted with their feet” as you said, that’s best explained by our historical failures to fulfill treaty obligations.

            It’s a complex issue, with no easy fix. However, no matter how you cut it, much more still has to be done. Assuring greater Maori representation in governance is surely a solid step forward.

          3. Much does need to be done – absolutely – and the best way is for all of our poor

            Greater “Maori representation” would be OK – BUT NOT if it was simply the rich mens club that is the modern Iwi – my comparison to our old Clan Chiefs is bloody close to the mark

          4. And even if they have “voted with their feet” as you said, that’s best explained by our historical failures to fulfill treaty obligations.

            No! Not at all
            Maori society was tribal – OK for the chief – not so good for the minions
            When presented with a different pattern the actual Maori tribesmen “deserted” en-mass – in less than 100 years there were no actual traditional “tribes” left at all
            No way can the Treaty be read as some club to be used to keep the people where they didn’t want to remain

            Maori are and were an incredibly flexible people – they went from
            Polynesian Island hoppers
            An expansion regime using the copious available protein
            A steady state farming system – just starting to go into the Hawaiian warfare cycles
            In about 400 years!
            That meant that they coped with the European influx better than any other indigenous people

          5. ‘Deserted en masse’ – ‘no actual tribes left at all’? Where have you been? When Statistics NZ tested a census question on tribal origins, over 80% of Maori even in urbanised South Auckland knew what iwi they came from. And that is despite the persistent effort of Pakeha Governments over many decades to destroy tribal structures, make the language illegal and force Maori to change their land ownership system to the Pakeha individual title way. For instance, tribal land had to have no more than 10 ‘owners’ on the title when the traditional Maori system said all members were owners. Meanwhile Pakeha land could be owned by a company that had many more than 10 share holding owners.
            Haven’t you seen the advertisements in the papers for iwi and hapu meetings that all members are being called to attend?

          6. And 90% of Scots know what clan they are from – even if the links are a bit subtle

            That does NOT mean that they are still in a clan structure and beholden to a clan chief

            Neither does attendance at “clan meetings” or even highland games!

            You are right about Maori land ownership – the government did exactly the same with the old Highland Clans
            Made the ownership “vested” in the chiefs – who then got shot of the people because sheep gave a better return
            The Maori leaders did the same – not as blatantly – it was 100 years later and Maori were never a people to be blatantly mistreated

            Which is a very good reason NOT to give the descendents of the Chiefs – Maori and Scottish – any extra authority at all

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