Independence Day

“… you can’t understand what the rangatira were doing with the Treaty without looking to the Declaration as well. The British Crown wasn’t bestowing tino rangatiratanga, nor were the rangatira creating tino rangatiratanga as something completely new. Rather, many rangatira were simply reaffirming what they’d done five years earlier.”
Morgan Godfery in conversation with Carwyn Jones and Claudia Orange

On 28 October 1835 rangatira in the north, along with British representatives gathered to sign He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (the Declaration of Independence). It’s a foundational document for this country and critical to understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Moana Jackson’s clear and informative kōrero, and Vincent O’Malley’s accessible account provide valuable starting points for understanding the context in which He Whakaputanga arose and it’s enduring significance.

Earlier this year historian Claudia Orange and political writer Morgan Godfery discussed He Whakaputanga with Victoria University law lecturer Carwyn Jones. Kennedy Warne’s edited record of the discussion, He Whakaputanga: Partnership and power sharing is another engrossing read. Where He Whakaputanga sits in political discourse and constitutional history is to the fore in this discussion as Orange and Godfery note “its partnership with Te Tiriti.” Implications for collective Māori action, and the different understandings of kāwanatanga / governorship over time offer useful insight into He Whakaputanga’s role today and in the past.

He Whakaputanga is housed at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa as part of the permanent and award winning He Tohu exhibition. It can also be explored online.

Images: Cover of Ngāpuhi Speaks – independent report on the Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu Claim
and He Whakaputanga The Declaration of Independence, 1835

State of the Pākehā Nation podcast


Thanks to Ngā Pātaka Kōrero o Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Libraries, The State of the Pākehā Nation 2018 is now available as a podcast.
In The State of the Pākehā Nation, Treaty educator Jen Margaret considers the necessity to unravel privilege, racism and colonisation, and suggests ways in which Pākehā might work to do so.

State of the Pākehā Nation podcast
It is also available in print version: State of the Pākehā Nation.

Te Pūrongo o te Upoko-o-te-Ika


Yesterday the Dominion Post launched its new masthead – Te Upoko-o-te-Ika and Te Kaunihera o Pōneke / Wellington City Council launched Te Tauihu, its strategy to make te reo a core part of Wellington’s identity. In the words of the Mayor, “We are pushing this because it is the right thing to do. It’s the only thing to do and Wellington should be leading. New Zealand needs to embrace our unique sense of identity and this is how we can support asserting that.” Importantly, this policy is part of this Council’s commitment to relationships with mana whenua.

Naming has been a powerful tool of colonisation as this informative article published earlier this week outlines. 178 years of unabated colonisation mean that there’s serious imbalance and injustice in our society that must be addressed. Carrying te reo Māori names, advocating for and speaking te reo Māori require tauiwi organisations to also address racism.

In the face of the work to be done its important to recognise the long history of the efforts of many Māori, which have lead to these current actions; and to celebrate these small, yet significant, steps along the way.

Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.
The language is the life force of mana Māori.
Sir James Hēnare (Ngā Puhi) 1985

Support Māori representation


Together_macron.jpgMāori representation in local government (and everywhere else) delivers great benefits to our communities. Currently the level of representation in local government is extremely low. One way councils can begin to address this is through the establishment of Māori wards. Five councils recently decided to do so, Kaikōura, Palmerston North, Manawatu, Western Bays and Whakatāne. However due to discriminatory legislation and the work of Hobson’s Pledge the establishment of these wards in under threat.

Thankfully there are many locals working hard in these communities in support of Māori representation. Groundwork: Facilitating Change is working with ActionStation and these locals to encourage people to Vote Yes for Māori wards. If you live in one of these communities, or elsewhere in Aotearoa, you can support this. Find out more here:

Te reo Māori capital

te tauihu






Following the inspiration of Ōtaki and Rotorua, the capital city is on the waka to becoming a bilingual city.  Ka mau te wehi!

Wellington City is currently consulting on Te Tauihu, their draft te reo Māori policy.
You don’t need to be a te reo speaker or live in Te Whanganui-a-Tara to make a submission. Nor do you need to write a lengthy submission (but of course do if you want to!).  The only thing that is really required at this stage is speed as submissions close at 5pm on Monday 12th March.

It’s important to make a submission, not just because it’s an important step for the capital but also because numbers matter.  It’s an opportunity show your support. Karawhuia!

The State of the Pākehā Nation


Halloween 2017: It’s a balmy spring evening and my daughter and her friend are discussing how it’s way too hot to be dressed up in black. “What were the British thinking? Didn’t they know that when it’s winter there it’s summer here?”

This State of the Pākehā Nation essay, commissioned by Network Waitangi Whāngarei for Waitangi Day, considers what Pākehā need to grapple with to make the Pākehā nation a compelling place for the children of my daughter’s generation.

Drawing inspiration from many sources including events of 2017, friends and mentors in the Treaty movement and workshop participants, the essay explores the necessity to unravel privilege, racism and colonisation, and suggests ways in which Pākehā might work to do so.

It’s here to read to read/hear and share!
State of the Pākehā Nation (PDF) and Podcast


It’s all relative

Ngai Tahu settlement

Recently some mainstream media ran a story on Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui “quietly” receiving “huge top-ups” to their “full and final settlements.” These relativity payments were agreed between the Crown and these iwi as part of their settlements.

Simply put, as Ngāi Tahu and Tainui were being offered a proportion of the pie that was available at the time (the $1b the Crown proposed to allocate to all settlements), it was agreed that if the pie increased in size over time they would get some more of it – meaning that the total amount they received would remain proportional to what was committed at the outset. As this balanced discussion of relativity payments explains, these payouts are part of the Crown’s contractual obligations, there’s nothing secretive in making them.

Within the skewed reporting on Treaty settlement relativity payments there was a bigger story that was totally overlooked — that according to the Office of Treaty Settlements a total of $2.2 billion was spent on Treaty settlements to iwi in the last 25 years (1992 – 2017). Here are a couple of examples of relativity in the context of the total financial payments.

Settlements govt exp


So where’s the headline story about the relatively tiny amounts that are being allocated to this process?

Why Ngāi Tahu and Tainui’s Treaty payment top-ups are fair and legal (The Spinoff 23/01/18)
Ministry of Defence takes the blame for a $148 milllion frigate upgrade budget blowout (Stuff 14/12/17)
Financial Statements Year End June 17 (Treasury)
Office of Treaty Settlements.