Show Notes: The Treaty of Waitangi

Tracy Wilson

A Waka paddles in the bay at Waitangi on Feb. 5, 2010, in Waitangi, New Zealand. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

When you look at it as part of the long history of treaties between colonialists and indigenous peoples, the Treaty of Waitangi, which established New Zealand as a nation, was a great step forward. Unlike many of the treaties that came before it, it was written under clear instructions that its creators treat fairly with New Zealand's indigenous Maori population.

But, at the same time, the treaty and the process of creating it were far from perfect. The English- and Maori-language documents have fundamental differences, and it's not entirely clear exactly how and why those came into being. There's also a certain level of racism running through the whole story, since it was clear that the British saw themselves as more able to look after the Maori than the Maori were. And, as is often the case, events that followed didn't always stick to the treaty's spirit of trying to protect both parties' interests - and, usually, when that happened, it was the British who came out ahead.

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For more knowledge: How the Maori Work

My research:

  • Farrar, John. "Early Conceptions of the State in New Zealand." Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence. Vols. 13 & 14.
  • Human Rights Commission. "Human Rights in New Zealand 2010: Human Rights and the Treaty of Waitangi." http://www.hrc.co.nz/hrc_new/hrc/cms/files/documents/15-Dec-2010_12-38-58_Chapter_4pp38-55.pdf
  • Joseph, Philip A. "The Treaty of Waitangi: A Text for the Performance of Nation." Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal. Summer 2004.
  • Ministry for Culture and Heritage. "Differences between the texts." http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/read-the-Treaty/differences-between-the-texts
  • Orange, Claudia. 'Treaty of Waitangi', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 9-Nov-12 http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/treaty-of-waitangi
  • Taonui, Rawiri. 'Ng? m?ngai - M?ori representation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 9-Nov-12 http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/nga-mangai-maori-representation
  • Wilson, John. 'Nation and government', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Apr-14. http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/nation-and-government

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