It’s pretty easy to see that urban Maori who are not affiliated with an iwi have missed out on the business of settling Treaty grievances. Iwi were essentially created so the government could settle with someone, it wasn’t practical to settle with the smaller, more numerous, hapu (even though hapu were the most important social and political unit in classic Maori society). Iwi have been the basis of the Treaty settlements, not urban Maori collectives and that has been to the financial detriment of urban Maori. An early example of that was the fisheries settlement – non-affiliated urban Maori received none of the allocated quota of fishing rights. At another level, it is easy to see that the legal profession has expanded on the back of the new status given to the Treaty. The decision to create a court-like institution to hear Maori grievances about historical events was a sensible one. A court process was appropriate given the grievances were largely about land and other natural resources. Exploring changing ownership, deeds of sale and so on is standard stuff for a legal team. And since it was playing out in a court-like institution the hearings had much needed status and legitimacy that comes with their mandate to be impartial. Inevitably, this early decision created an ongoing demand for lawyers with expertise in Treaty matters. So if you had to point to a profession that had ‘benefitted’ from the renewed status of the Treaty it would seem to be the legal profession which has been inevitably present at every Tribunal hearing and in every direct iwi-government negotiation.

Who is making money from the Treaty? was last modified: January 5th, 2015 by Gareth Morgan

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