A fresh take on the Treaty | Josie Pagani



A fresh take on the Treaty

The Treaty was signed between the Crown and Māori. Before we begin to examine what constitutional arrangements will follow our mourning, we need to discuss the promises the Treaty makes.

A timely intervention has arrived in a new book by Ned Fletcher, The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi. It demolishes the argument that there were two unreconciled versions of the Treaty. He shows the English version is the same as the Māori version. Pākehā who signed on behalf of the Crown were not trying to trick Māori. Sovereignty, or kawanatanga, meant the same to English signers as it did to Māori. The Crown would dispense justice, preserve the peace and good order, and regulate trade.

Māori and the Crown both understood that Māori would be able to keep tino rangatiratanga over providing to Māori the services that today we see as the services of the modern state.

Fletcher’s fresh take on the Treaty is extraordinary. Almost 200 years ago, its signatories had in mind a better model for helping Māori children than giving Oranga Tamariki and Kainga Ora te reo names.

Instead, the Treaty’s signatories contemplated Māori self-management of at least some money, decision-making and responsibility for Māori housing, healthcare, and education services.

Josie's Stuff column has more, here.

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