Hobson's pledge


Hobson's Pledge - "we are now one people"

Governor Hobson represented Queen Victoria on the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840. Hobson greeted each Chief who came forward to sign the treaty with the following pledge : “he iwi tahi tatou” – "we are now one people". Hobson's pledge to the chiefs laid the foundation of New Zealand's democracy: one citizen: one vote, regardless of race, colour, religion or gender.

Hobson's pledge, "he iwi tahi tatou", that the people of New Zealand were united under the law, is enshrined in section 19(1) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race and Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that "everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status".

Where we stand

Those supporting the Hobson’s Pledge Trust are New Zealanders who want all citizens to prosper and succeed.  We believe that:

  1. All New Zealanders should be equal before the law, irrespective of when they or their ancestors arrived in New Zealand;
  2. The Treaty of Waitangi is not in any meaningful sense New Zealand’s constitution;
  3. The Treaty did, however, establish three important points, namely that, in signing the Treaty, chiefs ceded sovereignty to the Crown; that in turn the Crown would protect the property rights of all New Zealanders; and that “nga tangata maori katoa o Nu Tirani” (the ordinary people of New Zealand) would have the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England;
  4. The Treaty of Waitangi did not create a “partnership” between Maori and the Crown;
  5. The Treaty of Waitangi did not establish any “principles” and all references to such “principles” should be removed from legislation;
  6. There is no longer any need for special Maori representation in government, whether it be Maori electorates in Parliament, Independent Maori Statutory Board in Auckland, or racially based representation in other governance bodies;
  7. All New Zealanders have an equal interest in the quality of fresh water and in the protection of the environment;
  8. There is no longer any need for the Waitangi Tribunal;
  9. Wherever it can be reasonably established that the Crown unlawfully confiscated property from any individual or group, compensation should be paid, provided however that any such compensation should be “full and final”;
  10. Policy measures intended to support those who need special assistance from government should be based on need, and not on ethnicity.

What we plan to do

Now is the time to arrest a decline into irreversible separatism. This may be achieved by speaking out wherever local authorities propose race-based structures and where the current government proposes co-governance.

This may also be achieved in forthcoming elections by supporting and voting for any party that would vote against all laws, regulations and policies that provide for any entitlement based on ancestry or ethnicity.

Ideally, this political party would commit to dismantling the Separation Framework and abolishing the Race Based Laws

for example:

  • remove all reference to consultation with any ethnic group from legislation, such as the Mana Whakahono a Rohe iwi participation clauses in the Resource Legislation Amendment Act, which should be repealed.
  • hold a binding referendum on scrapping separate Maori electorates
  • drop the proposal to grant tribal trusts special powers to control the allocation of water – something previously regarded as the exclusive province of local government
  • repealing the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 which has opened up the entire coastal area to 12 nautical miles offshore, to applications by individuals claiming some Maori ancestry.


  1. We can find nothing in the Treaty of Waitangi justifying any racial preference under the law.
  2. Legal equality between citizens is the foundation stone of democracy. It is fair, reasonable and totally inclusive.
  3. True democracy has proven to be the most enduring and successful system of government. It makes for united and prosperous nations.
  4. Race-based privilege creates opportunities for corruption, resentment, and unrest.

Now is the time to stop an undemocratic slide into New Zealand style apartheid.

Please Note: We are not in any sense anti-Maori. Indeed, some of us are Maori. We recognise that Maori are too often among the poorest and most incarcerated citizens in the land. But having a constitutional preference has done little or nothing for the wellbeing of most Maori. On the contrary: by leading some Maori to believe that their economic prosperity will be assured by a Treaty settlement, or by being able to clip the ticket on the productive activity of others, the constitutional preference may well be harming most Maori.


(1) New Zealand History: William Hobson's Biography: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/people/william-hobson
(2) Prohibited grounds of discrimination: Human Rights Act 1993: Section 21(f) (race)
(3) for the full text: Universal Declaration of Human Rights