The Treaty and the PM’s stumble

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s apparent inability to say what Articles one and two of the Treaty of Waitangi said serves as a timely reminder about the simple contents of the Treaty.

Through Article 1, the chiefs ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria. Article 2 confirmed that chiefs, tribes and the people of New Zealand owned what they owned although chiefs could sell what they wanted to an agent of the Queen if they so wished. Article 3 promised the Maori people of New Zealand protection and the rights of British subjects.

At the time, New Zealand was still part of New South Wales. It wasn’t until November 16, 1840, when the Letters Patent (commonly known as the Charter of 1840) was signed by the Queen, that New Zealand became an independent British colony.

Those who saw the Prime Minister’s embarrassing awkwardness would also have seen prompts by Labour MP Willie Jackson who said “kawanatanga” for Article 1 and “tino rangatiratanga” for Article 2.

These terms are relatively recent inventions that came about when a Waitangi Tribunal member named Sir Hugh Kawharu retranslated the Maori text in the 1980s according to what he thought that the chiefs may have understood in the 1840s.

The Treaty was drafted in English and translated into Maori so the meaning and intent of the Treaty should plain to see for all English speakers.

National Archives holds a text known as the Busby February 4 draft, also known as the Littlewood treaty, which is identical to the Maori text, having just one word that is different in Article 3, when it specifies that the “Maori people of New Zealand” were to be granted the rights of British subjects.

So how about the ornate “Official English text” with its extra and different words?  It’s a long story how that came to be regarded as such, although it is all explained here at

 Factual, impartial NZ history needed

History teachers behind a new petition say too few Kiwis understand what brought the Crown and Maori together in the 1840 Treaty, or how their relationship developed since because schools are not required to teach it.

The New Zealand History Teachers' Association chair Graeme Ball said New Zealand's colonial history was taught in an "ad hoc" fashion, and students were "lucky" if they learned about Parihaka, the New Zealand Land Wars, or the Waitangi Tribunal.

He said that the significance, interpretation and application of the Treaty of Waitangi are enshrined in the national curriculum, but only one part – an achievement objective in Level 5 Social Science, usually applicable to year 10 students – focuses on how the treaty has been "responded to".

"History is an optional subject from year 11. Immediately, we lose 80 per cent of students and then most teachers who are teaching our shared past aren't doing that until year 13,” Mr Ball said.

We say that impartial, factual history of New Zealand is needed in the national curriculum to replace the white guilt indoctrination that tends to appear.

An impartial teaching of our history at school could be like “heritage” markers at historic sites around the country giving brief, factual records of what happened.

The fact that the petitioning history teachers appear to focus on Parihaka, the land wars, and the Waitangi Tribunal instead of the full panorama of our past shows that getting a factual, impartial history may be difficult.

Magic Talk host Sean Plunket hit the nail on the head when he said "I don't want to learn a bunch of propaganda that says the Treaty is a fraud, whities go home, I've been oppressed."


The $9b iwi empire

The TDB Advisory Iwi Investment Report 2018 said that the combined wealth of the nation's 75 iwi groups rose by $1.2 billion to $9 billion in the past year with Ngai Tahu and Ngati Whatua Orakei as stand-outs with reported average returns of 12 per cent a year and 15 per cent respectively over the past six years.

But there are gaps in the NZ Herald account of the report. A non-iwi business generally starts with an interest-bearing bank loan secured against an asset, often the family home, and is taxed from day one.

Most iwi businesses start with seed capital given by the taxpayer via the Government and may trade as charities so are largely exempt from tax.

The total amount of this free seed capital to all iwi groups by way of treaty settlements to June 30 last year was $3.6 billion.

Since 1995, Waikato-Tainui has received $447 million and Ngai Tahu $437-million in Treaty settlements and both get a percentage of on-going settlements – with Waikato-Tainui getting 17 percent and Ngai Tahu 16.1 percent.

The free-money aspect is shielded by the sanctimony of successful claims by iwi that the Government in some way breached the treaty thus disadvantaging them.

South Island-based Ngai Tahu maintained a steady 8 per cent return on assets in 2018 through its private equity investments, property, tourism, farming, forestry and seafood.

Waikato-Tainui is primarily invested in property, as is Ngati Whatua Orakei, with others invested in forestry and managed funds.


5341 have signed against tribal appointees

A total of 5341 people have signed our petition to Environment Canterbury to block the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Bill, which will allow Ngai Tahu to appoint two representatives with voting rights onto the Council.

Soon, our MPs will vote on the first reading of the Bill which would allow the South Island tribe Ngai Tahu (that has received $437-million in Treaty settlements since 1998) to appoint two councillors on to the Canterbury Regional Council in perpetuity. 

The two appointees will sit and vote alongside the 14 elected councillors. As such, members of Ngai Tahu will be represented by the councillors they voted for as well as the Ngai Tahu appointees.

Please click here to sign, or google " Ngai Tahu" and click on the link to  "In a democracy, why should Ngai Tahu have more say than you?”

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