Gareth Morgan

Unbridled Racism - Our own Donald comes out trumps

Don Brash and his fellow Hard Righters just don’t get it and apparently are determined never to. The Treaty of Waitangi isn’t about race, it’s about an agreement between two societies to coexist and share the land of Aotearoa New Zealand. 

It is quite explicit in Article 2 of either of the original documents. As has been stated on numerous occasions by the Courts and the Tribunal, the principle underlying the pact was that both societies should be given a fair suck of the sav when it comes to fulfilling their aspirations.

This is not assimilation or a treaty that validates some kind of conquering by a colonial power. Our Donald seeks to trump New Zealand’s ethnic diversity and special status for Maori society with a whitewash. His doctrine holds that to be a New Zealander means to be indistinguishable from the caricature he and his fellow WASPs fit; it’s a pathetic and upsetting nonsense.

Brash is correct only insofar as we are all New Zealanders. Thereafter, because of his entrenched refusal to accept Article 2 of the Treaty, to even know what the Treaty principles are let alone acknowledge them, simply broadcasts that he denies our heritage as New Zealanders.

If one understands and accepts this history as most schoolchildren do these days, then one can only conclude his claims are thinly disguised but unbridled racism, no matter how charming his presentation of that bigotry. In that context Don Brash is the local embodiment of the conservative Religious Right that has driven the Republican Party in the US so far into the abyss.

It’s difficult to fathom why someone who had a distinguished career as a public policy technocrat could be so blind to the reality of the Treaty, so in denial that it was not a document of surrender to the values of some conquering power (the population imbalance at the time it was signed was some 40 to one so one could argue the accord saved many of the unruly British settlers at the time from a fate no better than death at the hands of upset Maori). Rather it was an agreement that both societies had the right to flourish and fulfil their aspirations – to mutually occupy this land. The British were, in other words, invited in.

Despite Donald’s denial, there is no doubt that Maoridom has special rights that no other New Zealand group does – that is precisely what Article 2 covers – rangatiratanga and property rights over natural resources and cultural treasures. Article 3 confers equal political rights to all individual New Zealanders, while Article 1 acknowledges the role of Government - whether sovereignty was ceded in 1840 or later by other means remains a matter of debate (and no doubt will be eventually determined by the Tribunal or the Courts).

Brash accepts Articles 1 and 3 possibly but refuses to accept 2 which is the acknowledgement of Maori society, and he’s completely against the principles that successive governments have acknowledged and are reflected in legislation.

The Treaty makes New Zealand unique – it is not the same as any other society whose history includes intrusion by a colonial power. The 2007 UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, further confirms the treaty principles by reiterating the rights of indigenous peoples in those societies (whether they had a treaty or not) as being different than those of subsequent settlers. Not more, but different. In essence that declaration endorses the rights of a traditional society to exist and thrive fulfilling its aspirations, subject only to the individual rights of other citizens.

And this is what so puzzling about the Brash doctrine. It seems to be rooted in a belief that what benefits Maoridom must by definition harm others. He makes no acknowledgement that a thriving Maori society, fulfilling its own aspirations, is actually positive for all New Zealanders.

Indeed he argues that’s what he wants as long as those aspirations align with those from his own Baptist-based heritage. It’s self-centred, it demonstrates a total absence of EQ on the part of our Donald, and it is about as arrogant as one can be when it comes to acknowledging the rights of Maoridom as tangata whenua, as the treaty specifically does.

The alternative, a disillusioned Maoridom, with inter-generational entrapment in poverty, poor socio-economic indicators, and an intergenerational message that they are a conquered people does nobody any good. New Zealand woke up to this in 1975, Brash remains in denial.

Maoridom is entitled to having its rights under the treaty protected. Brash calls that race-based privilege. On this issue – because he is intelligent enough to know that Article 2 acknowledges the rights of Maoridom as a society, he can only be regarded as a sick puppy, and his fellow travellers either ignorant of the treaty or equally racist as the charming Doctor. 

It is encouraging that the major political parties have reacted negatively to this latest Brash reincarnation. It looks as though his only chance politically with his race-based approach to re-writing New Zealand’s constitutional history, is to hitch his wagon to NZ First, which ironically has the same shallow appreciation of the difference between a treaty and a document of surrender.


  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-10 23:18:24 +1300
    Another way to ask my question is, what is the essence of “Maoridom”? You say on the one hand that race isn’t involved, but in your post below you say:

    “Of course most commonly racial descent is part of ethnicity, but by no means all of it.”

    By your own words, race is involved, you just claim that it isn’t relevant. So what then is the essence? That isn’t being made clear.
  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-09 15:15:08 +1300
    “I am using the term “Maoridom” in order to help the reader identify that I’m referring to the ethnic group as opposed to an individual or group of individuals who by bloodline have Maori ancestry.”

    So then, Mr. Morgan, a Maori who rejects Tribalism is not part of Maoridom, then?
  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-09 15:11:31 +1300
    I’ve heard fully what you’ve said. To answer your question. My heritage isn’t something I can accept or reject. It just is, like the sky is blue. Ethnicity, in that sense, is meaningless. What I choose to live by is what matters. If I was Maori and chose to reject the Tribalism that you and Gareth refer to as “Maoridom”, then am I still part of Maoridom? It’s a simple question with no circle involved.
  • Mel Lara
    commented 2016-10-09 14:30:06 +1300
    You know what Richard, I feel this conversation is going round and round in circles and you are not taking in or accepting what is being said here. I would much rather spend my energy on people who are teachable and utilize their compassion and empathy, rather than make this into a never ending debate…oh vey!

    Kia kaha Gareth, your indepth conversations are appreciated.
  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-09 11:43:34 +1300
    “Richard if you reject your English or Walsch or Irish side, does that mean you are no longer part of your ethnicity? "

    If I reject Tribalism, it means I am no longer part of the tribe. Heritage is a given, and something that is beyond choice. I’m not talking about heritage, I’m talking about the explicit rejection of certain ideas.

    “My question to you is why does it matter that some disenfranchised Maori by, choice or lack economic funding, location, state of education etc may or may not choose to become part of the Maori collective.”

    Before I answer your question, I think you should answer mine. For someone who has explicitly rejected tribalism, on what basis would you still consider them to be part of the tribe?
  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-09 11:23:15 +1300
    To Richard Wiig & Mel Lara

    I am using the term “Maoridom” in order to help the reader identify that I’m referring to the ethnic group as opposed to an individual or group of individuals who by bloodline have Maori ancestry. More commonly the same word, “Maori” is used for both meanings – the ethnic group Maori, and a person or persons who by biological descent have Maori blood. This juxtaposition (which is common) can – as is clear from Richard’s ongoing comments here – create confusion with those not used to dialogue in this area.

    Whenever I see the word “Maori” in text I immediately clarify for myself whether the writer is talking about the ethnie or the race, whether they’re referring to the group or are speaking of “a Maori” which is almost always a referral to race. It makes a world of difference to interpreting the writer’s meaning. Ethnicity is not the same thing as biological descent, ancestry or ‘race’. Ethnicity is about the culture you share with others. Irrespective of who you are descended from biologically, the people whose ideas, values and aspirations you share are your ethnic group. Of course most commonly racial descent is part of ethnicity, but by no means all of it. As Mel cites, you can become disconnected from your ethnie and to the extent that you lose virtually all connection. I consider myself like that with respect to my Welsh heritage and certainly know people of Maori descent in Australia who feel the same about Maoridom.

    But as Sir Tipene O’Reagen (who had Irish and Maori blood) famously said,

    “I am Maori but I am also Pakeha. I am Ngai Tahu, which makes me Maori. My roots are in Te Waipounamu which makes me southern. I am a citizen, which
    makes me a New Zealander. On almost any issue I will, at different times, call on one or more of these ‘identities’ and emphasise one or more to the exclusion of others.”

    So Ngai Tahu is the ethnie he identifies with. The life experience, culture, values, traditions etc of Ngai Tahu have shaped who he is and he proudly identifies and belongs to that ethnie. But he could – had he so opted – not done that and opted not to be part of that ethnic group. He would be no less Maori in terms of descent, but in that case he would identify more with some other ethnie – even the WASP one that Don Brash clearly does. Similarly if he had grown up in Fiji say, he may well choose to identify with that ethnie. Unlike race, ethnie is discretionary.

    This lies at the core of my criticism of Brash as a racist. He deliberately chooses not to recognise that people of various iwi (remember it’s iwi that are officially recognised as the signatories to the treaty) choose those ethnic identities (based most commonly on their upbringing) and instead claims that the treaty in all its legislative forms is “racial preference”. It really has little to do with race – it is based on the agreement between two different ethnic groupings, the original occupants (accepted as Maori or Maoridom) and the latecomers (the rest of us as represented nowadays by the government). Brash promotes the race description for reasons we don’t really know – but it sure incites the racists amongst his followers.

    I hope this addresses your musings Richard about individuals and collectives (I’ll leave out capitalism and socialism as you are using those terms quite inappropriately as proxies for individual and collective) and also further clarifies for you the difference between race and ethnie.

    As I’ve said before all this is covered in the book we wrote, with all the appropriate academic references so I’d rather not keep reinventing that wheel here in detail specifically for your edification. There is so much literature on the difference between ethnicity and race, and we know the treaty is an agreement between one ethnic group and the rest of NZ. Taken together then, this makes the Brash approach totally inappropriate as the main political parties have all pointed out. His perspective simply isn’t relevant – and of course being race-based is quite upsetting to most New Zealanders.


  • Mel Lara
    commented 2016-10-09 11:11:14 +1300
    Richard if you reject your English or Walsch or Irish side, does that mean you are no longer part of your ethnicity? My question to you is why does it matter that some disenfranchised Maori by, choice or lack economic funding, location, state of education etc may or may not choose to become part of the Maori collective. Understand that just because there are Maori who are not closer to the Iwi hub and are living a ‘Pakeha’ lifestyle, doesn’t mean to say that injustices should not be addressed on a larger scale. Being Maori is more than economics and culture. It’s a unique collective that you belong to whether you agree to what your leaders are saying and doing or not. Being Maori is more than a mere belief, it’s a thing you can’t escape ‘being’.
  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-09 10:01:46 +1300
    Yes, we all have family history and descendants and a traditional way that things have been arranged, Mel Lara, but that wasn’t my question. If a Maori rejects Tribalism (and such Maoris do exist), are they still considered part of Maoridom, and if so, on what basis? If Maoridom has nothing to do with race, as Mr. Morgan says, then it has to do with belief. If a particular Maori rejects those beliefs, then is he still part of Maoridom?
  • Mel Lara
    commented 2016-10-09 06:22:13 +1300
    Wig Maori are are collective in that they/see ourselves as part of our Iwi, Hapu and tribe. We are proud if these affiliations. As a Maori I am part of this collective and am also an individual operating in this capitalistic system…because that is the system which is (verb) dominating and almost impossible not to be a part of. Let Maoridom and not Whites who are unwilling to understand or appreciate the uniqueness of Maoridom decide for ourselves how we define ourselves. If you are having trouble relating, I suggest you get to know Maori in a personal basis, know communities, Marae, you local histories, and wider histories. There is fear in ignorance don’t you think?
  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-09 01:17:44 +1300
    If a Maori adopts individualism and Capitalism over Tribalism, is he still to be considered a part of Maoridom? If so, on what basis? If not, why not?
  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-07 09:23:11 +1300
    Hi Bodie Taylor

    Interesting perspective and nice to have it here. As you no doubt will have guessed this discussion is primarily about dragging pakeha that aren’t across the essential meaning of the treaty, up to speed. Unless that is accomplished it is going to continue to be unnecessarily difficult to get the treaty honoured fully in the constitution. Learning te reo is not a prerequisite for that process, although I’d fully acknowledge that if that language were a natural language (first or second) for all New Zealanders it would make the task above so much easier.

    Anyway just trying to get some of the most recalcitrant pakeha to appreciate that the treaty is not a race-based agreement, but rather an agreement between two societies – one that was already ensconced and another that landed from afar – to be able to coexist in harmony and each fully realise their aspirations, not just as individual New Zealanders but as members of the society or ethnie to which they subscribe – is the challenge of the times.

    Brash loves the reductionism that holds it’s all about race because via that means he can attract those incapable of overcoming their personal racial prejudice, as cheerleaders to his rallying cry that the treaty is race-based. On the positive side his perspective has been rubbished by National, Labour and the Greens so it really is a fringe Far Right perspective only.

    Kind regards

  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-06 22:07:16 +1300
    P.S. There are no first settlers anymore. The first settlers are long gone.
  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-06 22:06:38 +1300
    Nice rationalisation, but it doesn’t make you right and Don Brash wrong.

    “It is Don Brash that claims it bestows “racial” privilege rather than the truth that it bestows privilege to the first settlers, their culture and all those who identify with that culture.”

    Useful addition there with the “all who identify with”.

    The fact is, when dishing out the Treaty payouts you couldn’t, for instance, get a sum of money to put yourself through schooling if you simply identified with first settler culture. You had to show you belong to the tribe via your bloodline. You claim there are no bloodlines involved, but if that was the case, which tribe was which and who belonged to each would not matter.

    “This is called ethnicity, you clearly need to understand the difference between ethnicity and race or blood. "

    I understand the difference. However, even if you were correct that there is no racial element, you’ve clearly created an ideological element. People who “identify” with first settler culture, are to get special treatment over those who don’t. This is a clear setting up of first and second class citizenship along ideological lines. The ideological aspect has simply been added in as a vehicle for Socialism, not by you, but you have picked it up and run with it, and that’s the core of the conflict here. Socialism versus Capitalism.
  • Bodie Taylor
    commented 2016-10-06 21:32:13 +1300
    E āku Rangtira, Tēnā tātou! Gareth thank you for the write up that is clear and unambiguous in regards to the hegemonic views of the White majority and their struggle to hold power over Māori Nation, democracy lives well in our country as I have witnessed in this small forum the right to exercise points of view as will I.

    Home work, most of you white folk are well behind in your study, most of the concerns you are debating have no relevance for the 21st New Zealander as we are coming to the end of the Settlements that are based of the Articles of the Treaty. Things like debating “Tangata Whenua” when you have know knowledge of Te Reo to interpret the indigenous Treaty. We have a saying amongst our people “Kia mau i te Aka Matua, Ehara i te aka tāwewe”. Hold on to the significant and let go of the insignificant. Allow for your research on the Indigenous Treaty not the English as this is not recognized by International Law at the end of the day. To do that you must learn your reo, clutching onto fantasies without knowing a little Te Reo is wasting your time and especially if you are debating the Treaty from a monolingual point of view.

    Racism: When white people say they dont understand racism in the context to Brash then yes you are racist yourself and it is not your fault it is just the way the white culture works, I believe any culture that dominates over another will naturally fall into default where COLONIZING is prevalent. But where it is annoying is when a guy like Brash a so called educated well to do MAN of our country has little understanding because he chooses to deny the FACTS in which is common knowledge, scouting for the FEARS of other WHITE RACISTS, patching them up in the Hodges pledge as a legit outfit to instill white Supremacy over the Brown man in Aotearoa, reflecting the Big Brother of the Americas as apposed to becoming the light house for NEW ZEALAND Aotearoa. I kind of feel sorry for him and the side that he and others choose a stance of FEAR, as apposed to the STANCE of solidarity in face of Uncertainty.

    I am not wanting to debate Māori Privilege, Treaty or even racism in New Zealand, I would rather talk about innovation, creativity, New Zealand Fonterra solutions, our children and the future of education system that is well over due for a remodel. Meanwhile we wasting energy trying to catch people up with history, which I guess needs to the main-point for New Zealand schools. Real New Zealand History, Pakeha and Māori, ups and downs, pretty and ugly to present day Aotearoa moving forward.

    Guys like the Brash are always going to play on your fears white majority what are you going to do about it? Jump up and down every time he calls for Mummy and play into his hinaki (eel trap) or are you going to grow a pair and send this guy back to the abyss of slime he has come from, your choice free country; with the highest numbers of Māori occupying prisons, with highest health issues, highest unemployment rates. Ask this question, knowing all the statistics Māori have in the wrong areas of society do you want to be a Maori with all these amazing scholarships and privileges we have; would you trade your life to be in my shoes? Probably not, but still you will take a way the representation in councils even though you know it is the only way we can communicate Māori needs to get our people in to higher quality of living. Hmm does that make you a White Controlled Racist in New Zealand?

    LINKS BELOW TO HELP THE FLOW¬if_id=1475735853885756—our-war
  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-06 04:27:07 +1300
    To Richard Wiig

    The treaty has nothing to do with race, it is an agreement signed between first settlers and subsequent settlers for peaceful coexistence. It would have still been necessary had the parties all been the same race.

    It is Don Brash that claims it bestows “racial” privilege rather than the truth that it bestows privilege to the first settlers, their culture and all those who identify with that culture. This is called ethnicity, you clearly need to understand the difference between ethnicity and race or blood.

    That gives rise to the question of why Brash insists it’s a matter of race when clearly it isn’t. I see you subscribe to his racist perspective so I suspect this dialogue is over. I suggest you promote your racial preferences with the government of the day. You will find they give you the same short shrift they have given Brash.

    I’d wish you good luck but I don’t condone racism – as you will he gathered.
  • Richard Wiig
    commented 2016-10-05 22:01:33 +1300
    I am not struggling with collective versus individual concepts. I’m opposed to racism, and you are promoting racism. You are promoting a first and second class citizenship. Simple as that.
  • Richard John Deeble
    commented 2016-10-05 18:30:51 +1300
    A correction: Brash’s family background was not Baptist. His father, Alan Brash was a Presbyterian who was really an advocate of left leaning politics. He was pacificist proponent of nuclear disarmament who was involved in the World Council of Churches’ aid division. I suspect that he would disagree rather strongly with Brash junior’s politics, especially around the treaty.
  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-05 17:06:18 +1300
    Hi Jonathan Robinson

    It’s indeed reassuring that most Baptists do not align with the unfortunate views of the Southern Baptists in the US. Any google search on “Baptist, racism” will provide an extensive reference list on just how much trouble they are having, even today getting their congregation to ditch racism. Their recent conference in Nashville was a seething hotbed of discontent about the motion to do so. I certainly see that group as a collection of pretty sick puppies in the context of the damage that race-based discrimination is having in the US, the same US that Don Brash lauds as being colour-blind. I do wonder however why an organisation such as the Baptists in NZ don’t come out publicly and disown their brothers in the US – that sort of assertiveness would only increase your mana here.

    Kind regards
  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-05 16:58:11 +1300
    Hi Bruce Mason

    If I ran off and conducted another research project on this topic each time prominence was given by someone of new “evidence” I’d have a job for life. You could of course always do it yourself in order to promote your campaign to change the legislative status quo. Really I think you need to step back and ask yourself the simple question – what would a reasonable person’s interpretation be of the nature of the agreement reached between Maori and the settlers when outnumbering the newcomers 40 to 1, being concerned about the unruly behaviour of the newcomers, and given there was an opportunity to reach an agreement on mutual coexistence.

    This is the essence of what underlies the treaty principles that have been adopted by the Courts and the legislation. To reject that and instead myopically focus on all manner of ancillary documents before and after the 1840 time, is to me simply the reaction of somebody who cannot accept the reality of the agreement between two societies to share the land, mutually respect each other, have a fiduciary duty of care towards the other party (ie; not benefit at their expense) and to get on and work to ensure the aspirations of each are fulfilled.

    I think it’s a great arrangement, it’s derivation has come about via a cogent interpretation of historical events, governments accept and promote it, the remaining barrier is (largely pakeha) ignorance of the agreement. Thankfully that is diminishing as our education system informs the young and the older generations pass away. This is the relevant issue of the day with the treaty, not to re-litigate what has been established and included in legislation.

    Feel free to share with NZ your discoveries from the Littlewood papers, have those peer reviewed within academia and then convince the government of the day that we, New Zealand have it all wrong. Of course I would take notice of such success to improve my understanding.

    But really, short of that, don’t you think that perhaps you should get real?

    Kind regards
  • Jonathan R Robinson
    commented 2016-10-05 16:30:54 +1300
    Thanks Gareth, apology accepted. :-) Just to clarify, I am not an official spokesperson, but I am a registered Baptist Pastor and only shared what was publicly available. So don’t think I’ve spoken out of turn. I certainly don’t want to derail your message here, but you did inadvertently smear a group I identify with, 41 million Baptists worldwide only some of whom are represented by the SBC. So I thought it was worth saying something. Most Baptist denominations have a strong commitment to social justice and reconciliation and would not want to be identified with Brash or any form of racism either. nga mihi nui.
  • Paul Ridley-Smith
    commented 2016-10-05 14:25:45 +1300
    Gareth – changing topic a bit. I think there is much confusion and angst over underachievement by some Maori (note its only a small minority that relatively underachieve – and plenty of Pakeha struggle too) and the Crown not honouring the Treaty. I see the issues as quite independent. The underachievement would have substantially occurred irrespective of breaches (which I see as being mostly confined to land confiscation). What happened in the mid to late 1800s was that an indigenous people living a subsistence and communal way of life was overwhelmed by a relatively vast number of Europeans from the industrial age who converted the environment from one suited to a hunter – gatherer lifestyle to arable land farming. The Europeans also brought disease and other western vices. Maori society struggled to adapt and cope. We’d equally struggle now if 20m Chinese arrived over the next 25 years. On the positive the Europeans introduced technologies and customs beneficial to Maori. Around the globe, indigenous people struggled against these massive changes. Whether, 175 years on, we can attribute the current underachievement to Treaty breaches is something we’ll disagree on. My interest and focus is on what do we do now, irrespective of differing views on the Treaty, to get things better. The right policy choices are colour blind because the sections of society that are struggling are by no means limited to Maori. The obligations to help the disadvantaged aren’t Treaty based, but much broader than that. They are obligations that come with civil society.
    ps I know that you believe the Treaty creates obligation greater than to help the disadvantaged.
  • Bruce Mason
    commented 2016-10-05 13:33:50 +1300

    Your lack of receptivity to enquiry into ‘received wisdom’ on the Treaty, in view of further knowledge (the Littlewood papers), is staggering. This puts into doubt all your advocacy in all subject areas. Your “unless you can accept this (“what constitutes “the treaty”) as successive governments have, there really is nothing to discuss”. Is this the new standard for public enquiry? : no enquiry at all – think only what governments tell you to think?

    Is that what the Morgan Foundation is about?
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    followed this page 2016-10-05 12:33:28 +1300
  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-05 05:08:33 +1300
    Hi Bruce Mason

    It appears you have not read my response to Richard Wiig where I laid out what constitutes “the treaty” – it has 3 components, 2 original versions and the principles. Unless you can accept this as successive governments have, there really is nothing to discuss. I note your request that we do primary research on historic papers but that is not our area of interest. We absolutely do accept the “received wisdom” as it is reflected in Court rulings, the Tribunal recommendations and the legislation as has been implemented by governments of both hues.

    Sorry but a re-litigation of the state of the treaty in accepted NZ law is not of interest to me. I am simply informing Pakeha of what the actual contemporary political and legal commitment to it is. If I had one criticism of the post-1975 process it would be that the governments have failed in general to bring the understanding of many Pakeha along with the legislative reality of treaty matters. Your comments are an illustration of that failure.

    Best wishes
  • Tania Kingi
    commented 2016-10-04 21:08:43 +1300
    On the button Gareth
  • Ian Anderson
    commented 2016-10-04 20:25:27 +1300

    OK NZ voted against the Declaration in 2007, Pita Sharples announced in 2009 that the NZ government had changed its mind, but John Key said the announcement was premature. In 2010 Pita Sharples made the announcement again. This time it seems to have been more official ( Though I haven’t found anything online to show that the NZ government actually signed any UN document. And I don’t need to point out that Pita Sharples isn’t a member of National or Labour and I wonder if an all National cabinet would have changed its mind so quickly or at all.

    As for the Treaty and its interpretations. Just repeating your interpretation and claiming it is the accepted one (of course it is accepted by those that accept it and not accepted by those that don’t), doesn’t prove there aren’t other interpretations. I’ve seen a number of interpretations other than yours in the comment section of this website, and even more in other places.
  • Bruce Mason
    commented 2016-10-04 19:10:42 +1300
    Gareth, you need to rely much less on advisers as to the meaning of the Treaty and apply your analytical mind in the same manner as you do to economic and environmental issues. Go to the original documents and concurrent records as a starting point. You will find that there is no ‘Aotearoa’, no ‘tangata whenua’. These are relatively recent inventions, as are the notions of Treaty principles, ‘spirit’, ‘a living document’, partnership, co-management, treasures, and kaitiarki over natural resources.

    In particular you cite Article Two as proof of what you say:

    Ko te Tuarua

    “Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangatira ki nga hapu-ki tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa. Otiia ko nga Rangatira o te Wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa atu ka tuku ki te Kuini te hokonga o era wahi wenua e pai ai te tangata nona te Wenua-ki te ritenga o te utu e wakaritea ai e ratou ko te kai hoko e meatia nei e te Kuini hei kai hoko mona”.

    Where is ’tangata whenua’?

    Official ‘English Version’: ARTICLE THE SECOND

    “Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf”.

    Note that the key qualifier in regard to property is ‘possession’; it appears twice. If you pluck individual words out of any document the context is lost and they can end up meaning anything. For something to be possessed it must be property capable of holding to the exclusion of all others. It is physically impossible to ‘possess’ natural resources, like free-flowing and evaporating water or wild populations of fauna including fish.

    There is an historic anomaly with this article as it was not an English ‘version’ of the Treaty.

    My understanding is that, the official so-called English version appended to the Maori Treaty at Waikato Heads, was a post-6 February 1840 English unauthorised version by Hobson’s secretary who added his own phrases. Those were neither drafts of the Treaty nor translations of it. This erroneously included forests and fisheries. The genuine manuscript copy intended for signing had not arrived in time for the Waikato meeting. The ‘stand-in’ was added because of insufficient room on the Maori document for many more signatures.

    At sometime subsequently the English addition to the Maori document was unattached from the parent Maori document and erroneously represented as ‘The English Version’.

    T.E Young’s back-translation of Article Two of the Maori document into English (1869) closely matches the final draft in English of 4 February 1840. This contains no forests or fisheries.

    The final English draft of Article 2 of 4 February 1840, in Busby’s handwriting, discovered in the Littlewood family papers in 1989, in part reads: "The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs & tribes and to all the people of New Zealand the possession of their lands, dwellings and all their property”.

    This must have meant tangible properties that were capable of possession. It is physically impossible to ‘possess’, meaning holding to the exclusion of all others, free-ranging fish, or the water in which they live. Natural water flows freely and evaporates as part of the Earth’s water cycle.

    As the Treaty is now being revered as having great constitutional importance, one could have expected a national re-evaluation of the Treaty when the final English draft of 4 February was found in the Littlewood family papers. Instead there has been silence.

    The Morgan Foundation has made a significant contribution to public discourse on a range of issues. Instead of peddling received wisdom about the Treaty, you could instigate an independent forensic examination of the ‘Littlewood’ and related papers and publish your findings. However you will need to engage new and open minds for credibility.

    Bruce Mason
  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-04 15:00:10 +1300
    Hi Paul Smith

    You have asked me to write an article explaining what the rights of Maoridom under Article 2 mean “in the day to day governance of NZ. Define those rights and tell me what it means in practice. In other words tell me your views about it means for education, health, justice, use of natural resources and social welfare”.

    Well rather than me run off and write yet another individualized response can I ask that your read my book on this subject, “Are We There Yet – the Future of the Treaty of Waitangi”. It is all in there. Feel free to question me on any of it.

  • Gareth Morgan
    commented 2016-10-04 14:49:24 +1300
    Hi Jonathan R Robinson

    Thanks for your response and I am encouraged by the offical response from the NZ Baptist Churches (I’m assuming here you are their spokesperson) – it is great. I apologise if you took my remarks to mean the NZ Baptist churches were in the Brash camp. What I was referring to was the Bible Belt of the US – populated in no small part by the Southern Baptists – and its denial of the racial discrimination that besets those parts, its support for the Republicans and ultra conservatives that would have Black people in the US continue to be denied equal rights. Dr Brash often refers to the US as being "colour blind”, that thanks to Dr Martin Luther King this was achieved. Brash advocates simplistically that this is what NZ should be like – he totally interprets our treaty as a race-oriented document which is not the basis of it at all. And the facts of life in the US are that “invisibility of colour” that Brash is obsessed with, wasn’t achieved anyway as witnessed by “Black Lives Matter” and other Movements to end discrimination there, attest.

    It is unfortunate but a fact that the Southern Baptists are amongst the Social Conservatives in the US that have a history of endemic racism that traces back to their roles as slave owners. It is encouraging that very recently they have taken a more active role in distancing themselves from that, however as they acknowledge themselves it will be a long journey to eradicate the last vestiges of bigotry from their pedigree.

    I congratulate the NZ Baptists on their stance re the treaty, however I stand by my comments about Dr Brash and his desire for a US-like invisibility of colour. They simply are irrelevant to the treaty discussion in NZ which is not about race but rather about an agreement between original and subsequent settlers (and their respective descendants).
  • Paul Ridley-Smith
    commented 2016-10-04 10:33:13 +1300
    Thanks for the reply. The risk is that the argument gets semantic. Your central proposition is that the Treaty (under Article 2) does, by contract, guarantee Maori unique rights – but not lose any rights that they also hold as citizens under Article 3. If we accept that, then whether we describe those additional rights as a privilege, or something else, is unimportant. You don’t like Brash calling then race based privileges, but they have that effect. Let’s accept that you’re constitutionally correct (which I don’t – but whatever). What I’d be interested in in your next article is what it means in the day to day governance of NZ. Define those rights and tell me what it means in practice. In other words tell me your views about it means for education, health, justice, use of natural resources and social welfare.

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