Thursday, March 3, 2011

nor is this all

I have missed studying but now I am back into it and filled with anticipation. Some of my first readings have been excellent and I will endeavour to put up insights I get as I go along. A paper I am excited about is a Treaty of Waitangi paper - so much has been written about this Treaty and it's place in our history and cultural ethos. The versions, the misuse of words, the haste, the falsification and deliberate misleading - it is all there.

I'm sure over time we will get to all of those issues but I want to talk a bit about Lord Normanby's instructions to Hobson. (My emphasis below)
... the increase of national wealth and power promised by the aquisition of New Zealand, would be a most inadequate compensation for the injury which must be inflicted on this Kingdom itself, by embarking in a measure essentially unjust, and but too certainly fraught with calamity to a numerous and inoffensive people, whose title to the soil and to the Sovereignty of New Zealand is indisputable, and has been solemnly recognised by the British Government ...
... The Queen... disclaims for herself and for her Subjects, every pretension to sieze on the Islands of New Zealand, or to govern them as part of the Dominion of Great Britian unless the free and intelligent consent of the Natives, expressed according to their established usages, shall be first obtained...
... All dealings with the Aborigines for their lands must be conducted on the same principles of sincerity, justice, and good faith as must govern your transactions with them for the recognition of Her Majesty's Sovereignty in the Islands. Nor is this all. They must not be permitted to enter into any Contracts in which they might be ignorant and unintentional authors of injuries to themselves...
Lord Normanby's instructions were barely followed. The free and informed consent according to established usages and the principles of sincerity, justice and good faith were not followed. In fact these are the same issues facing Māori today. Tino rangatiratanga is about free and informed consent and sincerity, justice and good faith. There are numerous reasons that the Treaty, between the indisputable Sovereigns of the land - Māori, and the Crown, did not live up to the intent of Lord Normanby's instructions. What has happened, has happened - the point is, what do we do about it.

Telling the truth is a good start - stop the pretending and self delusions that we hide behind - front up to how we have got to where we are. All of those aspects are part of resetting the foundations of this country and it starts and ends with recognition of Māori and the right to self determination. That is the way we change all of the negative statistics that reflect the plagues on Māori. The plagues that have arisen from the disease of colonisation and it's siblings - capitalism, exploitation and patriarchy. The tokenism has to stop and the context must be there. For instance, why would a presenter talk through the radio broadcast of the karakia before the memorial service for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake when the christian prayers are heard in silence?  I don't personally blame the presenter because it is endemic in our society - this disregard for Māori culture and the misunderstandings because of lack of context. This is important because we are in this waka together and that connection for us all is beyond dispute.

Everyone can connect but we need the indigenous rights of Māori to be recognised, acclaimed and empowered for the true value of those connections to be realised. This country didn't begin in 1840 - there is a deep and rich history and knowledge within the real story of this country and as we accept the truth of that story, we connect and become part of that story. It becomes our story too no matter where we are from. That is the great gift awaiting us.

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