Ted Howard what is the story of Waitangi Day in New Zealand?
Can the rest of us please respond to this Holiday?
Ted, do you or your family do anything celebrative for the day?
I’m going to celebrate by playing in our Waitangi Day Golf Tournament 😉
And I have spent quite a bit of time on treaty issues, have spent quite a few hours with Claudia Orange, and with many of the current and past Maori leaders over the last 40+ years, and many of the best legal brains in the country, and at many hui and many treaty workshops, and at many levels of government policy discussions. And yes, the Wikipedia article is a reasonable introduction, and it is a very complex set of legal and social issues, with many dimensions and perspectives.
NZ is one of the few lands to be settled by treaty between peoples. Settlement of Australia was done under the doctrine of terra nullius (unoccupied lands) and even as recently as the 1960s, Australian Aboriginals were not legally classed as humans, but were legally considered as native animals. That has changed.
New Zealand has its share of racist attitudes too, and in law Maori have been considered British citizens since 1840, and were considered a sovereign people before that by many.
I think the Treaty was a noble attempt by a then ruling faction of the British Parliament to treat newly discovered peoples with dignity. Certainly there was much “backsliding” with a change of ruling parties, and that is often the way of politics, unfortunately.
And I am happy that the issue is very much alive in this country, and that attitudes are generally changing.
To me, life and liberty are my highest values. I don’t care much for either kingship or chieftainship, though I have a great deal of respect for many of the individual chiefs, some of whom I count amongst my close friends, and even for QEII (though my own family history has it that my great grandfather left England for NZ to get as far away as possible from English Class society).
So yes, very complex topic, many different dimensions, many different themes, and a lot of history.