Thursday, June 21, 2007

Problems with the Treaty of Waitangi

  • The treaty is very short
  • Hastily drawn up by William Hobson and James Busby
  • Henry Williams translated it to Maori – this was the version that most Maori would sign

Williams inaccurate translation lies at the heart of the conflict over the Treaty today.

Article One – Maori Version

Maori would never have signed away their sovereignty – rangatiratanga .Williams created the word kawanatanga, which he said meant governorship.

  • 512 Maori signed Maori version
  • 30 signed English version

Not all important chiefs signed Eg. Potatou Te Wherowhero

  • Waikato chiefs did not all sign the Treaty
  • This was an important factor in later land wars of 1860’s

Article Two – Version

1) The Crown guarantees Maori can retain their land, forests, fisheries, taonga
2) Contradicts Article 1 (English version) Maori version uses the term rangitiratanga – therefore Maori understood they were the ultimate sovereign authority (able to continue to impose law and order) in their own lands.
3) Maori who want to sell their land are permitted to sell it to the Crown only.
- Hobson misused the word Pre-emption (English interpretation only)
4) Maori version uses the word pre-emption translated as hokonga correctly – first offer. (refer to learning guide)

Article Three

1) contradicts Article 2. (English version) Article 2 has taken away the equal right of Maori to sell their land to anyone they want to – a basic right of British subjects
2) Can be interpreted to contradict Article 2 (both versions) – implicit that Pakeha do not have an equal right to land/fisheries.

n.b. Missionaries emphasised the ‘protection’ that the Crown would provide them with (foreigners, inter-tribal warfare, badly behaved British settlers).

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