May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Brash misrepresents Treaty, says expert

2 min read

The claim by former leader of the National party and new leader of the Act Party Don Brash that the Treaty of Waitangi demands one law for all in New Zealand is a misinterpretation of the Treaty, says Veronica Tawhai, a Treaty expert and policy lecturer of Te Putahi a Toi, School of Maori Studies at Massey University.

Article Three of the Treaty of Waitangi promised Maori all the rights and privileges or right and duties of British subjects, for example, the right to political representation, the right to an education, and the right to health care says Ms Tawhai. Maori have then fulfilled duties such as paying taxes and defending our country in the World Wars.

Nowhere in the Treaty does it state there can only be one law for all New Zealanders. That is a gross misinterpretation by Dr. Brash.

As Maori are a minority and disadvantaged across many socio-economic areas, ensuring Maori have political representation, access to education and are receiving health care often requires provisions specifically for Maori, such as the Maori parliamentary seats. To abolish the seats and other provisions, as Dr. Brash wishes to do, would in fact breach the Treaty and cause further harm.

The M?ori and English versions of the Treaty of Waitangi are, in some areas slightly, and in other areas significantly, different. Save for 39 signatures on the English version, the 500 plus signatures from Maori chiefs are on the Maori version. The 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act specifies, however, that both versions of the Treaty are to be observed. This means equal weight must be given to both the English and Maori translation.

Brash is ignoring the law when he states that Article Two of the Treaty is about Maori property rights only. Article Two of the Maori version guarantees to Maori their tino rangatiratanga which means, amongst other things, Maori control over decisions that will affect Maori lands, resources, and lives. Hone Harawira is right in saying this requires a political partnership between Maori and government.

The recent debate on TV Ones Close Up between Don Brash and Hone Harawira, the leader of the new Mana political party, included a focus on the Treaty of Waitangi, which has long been referred to as New Zealands founding document. It is vitally important all New Zealanders have a good understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, to ensure we can have sound debate on the meaning and application of the Treaty to today. Only then can we truly move towards honouring the Treaty as a foundation for this country concluded Ms Tawhai.

8 thoughts on “Brash misrepresents Treaty, says expert

  1. Tena koe Pania – not sure what the cost is for the two day course. is a new initiative, will find out for you… 🙂

  2. Hollow Man is at it again,,After viewing the whole Vedio on Brash and the same National bunch.Tangatawhenua can see the whole vote catching speech again..

    Try this Brash

    Prior to 1840 Maori .were the Sovereign People of Aotearoa and had full Sovereign capacity, albeit without central Government, as recognised by Europeans. International Law has long held that as long as a territory was occupied by a people then the Soverenty of territory resided with the people residents . Article 1, Tiriti O Waitangi.
    From a Crown apology to a tribal iwi part of a Deed of Entitlement document..and theres more…..

  3. A 'misinterpretation' suggests a false understanding of something. This prick understands the document completely. This in my view is in fact a sick perversion of what he claims the treaty actually says. An quick catch from the uneducated, the unpoliticised, the redneck-community and the capitalist corporate pigs that crawl parasitically among the good people of this beautiful whenua. Votes reeled in the advent of November elections. You Mr. Brash are a PERVERT!! Get off you Neoliberal prick.

  4. Kia ora! Anyone interested in learning more about the Treaty – an accurate version! – or know people who are keen to learn more about it can take a paper via correspondence with a two day on-campus course '150.201 Te Kawenata o Waitangi: The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand Society' offered by Te Putahi a Toi School of Maori Studies at Massey University – ring 0800 MASSEY 🙂

      1. Ae the two days is a mix of lectures and workshops/tutorials. There is then a full five month course for those wishing to take it as part of a degree programme… all enquiries welcome!

  5. Obeying the law is another of the "duties" or "responsibilities" that the chiefs signed up to on behalf of their people. Laws are made by Parliament, who amongst other laws, created the Maori seats. Parliament can abolish the Maori seats just as easily. Similarly the laws that give Maori special treatment were also passed by Parliament, they were not written into the Treaty of Waitangi.
    Ian McIntosh

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