It’s Independence Day


“He Whakaputanga te matua, Te Tiriti te tamaiti.
He Whakaputanga is the parent, Te Tiriti is the child.” (Hone Sadler, Ngāpuhi)

On this day in 1835 rangatira in the north, along with British representatives gathered to sign He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (the Declaration of Independence). Its a foundational document for this country. In He Whakaputanga, the rangatira asserted their mana, rangatiratanga and independence over the northern parts of New Zealand. They stated that any foreign authority could be exercised only as they directed. They also agreed to meet annually at Waitangi for the purpose of framing laws for the purposes of justice, peace, good order, and trade. They invited hapū from southern parts of the country to join them in this (rangatira from other regions added their signatures over the following years). The Declaration was recognised by the British, French and US governments.

The independence of the hapū asserted in He Whakaputanga was affirmed in 1840 in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. As the Waitangi Tribunal recently concludedin February 1840 the rangatira who signed te Tiriti did not cede their sovereignty. That is, they did not cede their authority to make and enforce law over their people or their territories. Rather, they agreed to share power and authority with the Governor. They agreed to a relationship: one in which they and Hobson [who represented the British Crown] were to be equal – equal while having different roles and different spheres of influence. In essence, rangatira retained their authority over their hapu and territories, while Hobson was given authority to control Pākehā.’

It’s a busy day in Te Whanganui a Tara, if you are in the capital you might be heading to parliament to resist racism, or remembering the NZ Wars by attending the new exhibition at Te Papa, or attending this picnic to reflect on all the significant events of the day (extra points for doing all three!). With your spare time in between take a moment (realistically a good hour) to visit He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (the Declaration of Independence), housed at the National Library. If you’re elsewhere in the country then take time to learn more about He Whakaputanga by reading more or watching this wonderfully clear and informative kōrero by Moana Jackson.

Rā Maumahara: Remembering the New Zealand Wars

NZ Wars

Saturday 28 October is Rā Maumahara, the first national commemoration of the New Zealand Wars. Many people have worked hard to get this national day of remembrance onto the calendar. He mihi kau atu ana tēnei ki a rātou.

This day is clearly significant in terms of what is being remembered – the brutality and devastation of the colonists’ attacks on tangata whenua, the dispossession and impoverishment of tangata whenua that resulted from these wars, and the enduring impacts of these events.

This first Rā Maumahara is also significant in that finally, 145 years since the end of the wars, we have a national day of remembrance. These were defining events in the history of Aotearoa. The wars and their impacts have been present and alive within Māori society for all those years. It’s long overdue that they become part of the consciousness of all New Zealanders. This day is an important contribution to building understanding of our histories and how they shape our present.

Along with local events in various parts of the country, valuable new resources have been produced to mark Rā Maumahara. RNZ has just launched Stories of Ruapekapeka whichcaptures Māori and Pākehā views on Northland’s most infamous armed conflict.” Produced by Mihingarangi Forbes, the Stories of Ruapekapeka webpage hosts a documentary and a number of other video pieces, animations and virtual reality battle scenes.

Te Papa Tongarewa, has a new exhibition opening tomorrow. Rā Maumahara: New Zealand Wars , “explores the most explosive and sustained period of conflict in the New Zealand Wars: 1860–72.”

Scoop Review of Books is helping to mark Rā Maumahara by providing blogs on books about the wars and the Māoriland Film Festival Hub is screening The New Zealand Wars by James Belich along with hosting inspiring speakers.

So take time this Saturday to engage with the significance of this day – to look at these new resources, to listen to accounts on Māori media, to learn from, and to share with others.  Take time too to remember that 28 October is Independence Day in Aotearoa, more on that in our next post …

Racial discrimination: UN recommendations


3 paragraphs of commendation and 33 expressing concern and recommendations in response to the New Zealand government’s action (or inaction). This is in the recently released Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on the New Zealand government’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. It is a telling scorecard which reflects the government’s lack of action to honour its commitments under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Read Peace Movement Aotearoa’s useful summary for more details.

Vision and action for change

Action Station

“Our constitution and structures reflect our Treaty commitments, and rangatiratanga is guaranteed to Māori. Every person in Aotearoa New Zealand understands and respects Te Tiriti as our founding document, understands the harm done by colonisation in our country, and works to heal injustices and to see Te Tiriti honoured.”
This is the inspiring vision for a Treaty honouring Aotearoa expressed in Te Ira Tāngata: People’s Agenda for Aotearoa just released by the great people at ActionStation.

Te Ira Tāngata brings together a vision of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. It promotes change in the kāwanatanga (government) sphere, and responds to Māori-led work for constitutional transformation.

Alongside promoting a vision for Aotearoa in 2040, Te Ira Tāngata details the policies needed now to achieve this vision and provides scorecards of political parties commitments to these policies.  Check out the Treaty scorecard and look too at the other scorecards as the commitment to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi is reflected in many areas.

Te Ira Tāngata is an awesome tool for promoting short term action for long term change. Ka nui te mihi ki ngā ringa tōhau nui o ActionStation.




Conversations for the future


ActionStation are currently providing a platform for people to come together for conversations about the future of Aotearoa through a project called “Kai & Kōrero” Groups of 6-10 people meet to share food and explore challenges and aspirations for Aotearoa. The conversation is focused around foundational values and the changes that might be experienced by 2040 if those values informed decision-making.

The contributions made through Kai and Kōrero will contribute towards Te Ira Tāngata: People’s Agenda. This is “kāwanatanga sphere” initiative (as it is coming from the Tangata Tiriti side of the Treaty relationship) has the potential to complement the work undertaken by Matike Mai Aotearoa – The Independent Working Group on Constitutional Transformation. If you haven’t read the report of Matike Mai Aotearoa, do so! Then sign up to host or attend Kai and Kōrero.

Honouring Te Tiriti in education

“As teachers, we are committed to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and we understand this has implications in all of our practice.”
This statement is an excerpt from the recently published Education Council Code and Standards of Practice.  The Code and Standards are based on values of whakamana, manaakitanga, pono, whanaungatanga. They reflect a commitment from the Education Council to Treaty-honouring relationships and the expectation that all teachers will contribute to better understanding and relationships within their practice.
One starting point in meeting these standards is ensuring that teachers have a good grasp of the Treaty in the context of education. Groundwork: Facilitating Change has recently developed a new workshop to support teachers and school staff in understanding the Treaty and its implications for their work. The course has received great feedback from teachers. See Treaty and education for more details about the course.

Magical Māori Mystery Tour

Magical mystery

If you live in or are visiting Te Whanganui-a-Tara, take the time to see this exhibition, in the lightboxes on the site of Te Aro Pā (cnr of Taranaki St & Courtney Pl). Curated by Tina Makereti, and including writing by Debbie Broughton, Alice Te Punga Somerville, Rachel Buchanan, this project “explores a personal history of Wellington and critiques the way Māori histories are represented.” It is a powerful work.
It was designed by Johnson Witehira and Kemi Niko.