Post / He Pānui

Te Tiriti o Waitangi from a Pākehā cultural perspective

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a wonderful founding document for our nation. Its promise is a mutual respect between hapū and the crown, of person and place, that gives opportunity for all, through self-determination. With the legal rule of contra proferentem, the Māori text is what takes legal standing. This is the text the rangatira who signed Te Tiriti understood fully. I give the Māori text primacy in my work. Here is a summary of what is stipulated in Te Tiriti o Waitangi the Māori text.

Article one affords to the crown “kawanatanga” which is the establishment of “governorship” or a Crown based government for New Zealand. This led to the waves of British immigrants of which my family was a part. 

Article two promises to Māori “tino rangatiratanga” over their property and treasures. “Tino rangatiratanga” can be translated as absolute chieftainship or independence and authority. This establishes the key political respect from the Crown to Māori that is yet to be honored..

Article three affords to Māori the rights and privileges of British citizens, known as the equity clause.

A verbal understanding which is sometimes called “Article Four” was that Māori spirituality would be protected under the law, like the other church identities of the time.

Almost immediately the promises in Te Tiriti to Māori have been abandoned and trampled on with violence in its many forms. The invasion of troops which led to the taking of the land and the Māori Land Court, were set up to alienate Māori spirituality and identity in the land, and their economic base. Exclusionary systems such as City Councils, The Native Schools Act which violently oppressed and excluded Māori culture from the education system, are just a few examples their effects we live with today are a part of the ongoing colonial reality in our country..

 These and many other combining factors have led to a stripping of wealth and culture leading to alienation of Māori from their lands and identity. This reality is born out in the current statistical information of Māori within Pākehā systems.

There are also statistics where when Māori are resourced and able to share their own world view for themselves like tertiary institutions Wānanga, school systems like Kura Kaupapa Māori, Māori excel.

The racism that is part of this violence which allows politicians and the country to sit largely idlily by as the horrors of the realities of these statistics play out is an inditement. We should support the cause of tino rangatiratanga for Māori now. The promise of Te Tiriti being honored will see our Māori family, friends and neighbors do better and thrive. Something we all as Pākehā can learn and benefit from.

The process of understanding the Māori struggle, can get us as Pākehā to examine ourselves and find resolve around our principles and Pākehā culture which through colonialism most Pākehā are not aware of. This can be empowering and leads to more self-aware Pākehā where we can be more responsible with our culture and our work, and understand our role as allies to honor Te Tiriti o Waitangi which led to us being here while defining and strengthening further our identity as Pākehā.

Please see the link below for more information on Te Tiriti o Waitangi in our past and how we can honor Te Tiriti today, and into the future.

Treaty Resource Centre-He Puna Mātauranga o Te Tiriti

James Barnes                    

A poem and some reflections on Te Tiriti o Waitangi in Te Reo Māori followed by a translation:

Te Tiriti o Waitangi ki au ki te Pākehā.

He ngaru pou i te tiu ka horu ki te ākau,

horo pari whanaunga kore Te Wai o Rānana!

ka paremo te motu nei!

“He toka whakaeaea” te Tiriti o Waitangi

i wāua i ngā wharenui, i ruia ki te marae ātea

i nonoia e aku pakeke

he mana i whakaritea i whakaaea

te tino rangatiratanga e

Pai mārire

Ka whānau māua ko taku māhanga, anō me te mea he Māori tā māua noho, take i whiua māua ki roto ki te Kōhanga Reo te kaupapa ataahua a te iwi Māori he whakakūwaiwai ia i ngā tupu i te māra o te reo Māori i mānahanahatia kinotia e Kāwana Pākehā. Nā ka pakeke mātau, i wā matou noho kura tēnā he noho marae i rāwahi i te kainga i Tauranga, te noho marae rānei i te kainga, tērā rānei he hewa nō taku mahara engari ko te rite o te whiakōrerohia o Te Tiriti, e ngā koroua i haere mai, i haere atu i taku pūmahara. nā wai ā ko waku mahara ki ngā hui ā taku matua Pākehā nei ki wana hoa Pākehā mō Te Tiriti. nō reira pakeke noa au, anō he pari kōhatu kārangaranga tā mātau noho i ngā whakahau, i ngā ōhia, i ngā ngangahu mō Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Kia pakeke nei au, ka koeke kē nei ki te mata titiro atu ki te kupu kōrero i Te Tiriti tonu, ka ngaoa i au taku rākau tū. taku rākau moe ki te whare.

Anei onaianei kua kitea mō taku iwi Pākehā ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi te mana whakaaea nāna i waru aku tīpuna ngā moana i Ingarangi rā āno ki Aotearoa nei.’Kua tuhia atu nei e au ki runga nei ki te reo Ingarihi, Ana turua te mana o Te Tiriti ki te motu nei ka wana mai te ora i te iwi Māori hei painga ki te iwi Māori ka tahi, ka rua ki te iwi Pākehā. Te iwi Pākehā kua rite ki te kaipaoe tīhoi i te motu nei kua kūare hoki i te ringa kaha o te raupatu. Kei ahau nei me kimi tahi e te Pākehā tōnā Pākehātanga mārire e tau ai tāna noho hoki ki te motu nei. kaua ia hei whakataruna ki te Māori engari me tū marohi i tōnā Pākehatanga ake, hei hoa mō te Māoritanga nui taketake o te whenua nei.

He whakaaro ruarua ēnei nōku tō koutou hoa whanaunga

Tēnā koutou katoa

James Barnes

Te Tiriti o Waitangi to me the Pākehā

A large wave from the north rumbles at the forshore

It devours the cliffs with no concern to the people, The Water of London!

The country was totally drowned!

Te Tiriti o Waitangi Is a “ Rock that is never totally consumed”

It was spoken of in the meeting houses, and strewn across the marae

It was strived for by my elders

A power that was agreed to and anointed

The absolute chieftainship “tino rangatiratanga”.

When me and my twin were born, it was as If we were established early in our lives amongst the Māori worldview. This was because we were placed in the Kōhanga Reo (Māori Early Education) a beautiful program set up by the Māori people to water the plants in the garden of Te Reo Māori which was flattened egregiously by the Pākehā government. So when we grew up, at our stays for school, whether it was a marae stay away from home or at home in Tauranga if I my memory doesn’t fail me, I remember Te Tiriti o Waitangi was regularly spoken of in the speech making by the old men who would come and go. Over time also we would go with my Pākehā farther to Pākehā meetings about Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Therefore as I grew up the talk around Te Tiriti was like a cliff that bounced off the voices during our upbringing, the assertions, the desires, the challenges.

As I grew up, and my thinking matured, and I actually began to look carefully at the text in Te Tiriti my staff was carved, the humble staff that sleeps in my house

I see now that Te Tiriti is instrumental to the immigration of my ancestors from the distant seas of England to New Zealand. I have written in an earlier post in English, if we were to establish Te Tiriti in our country, life would thrive forward for Māori, as a benefit to the Māori people first of all, secondly to us as Pākehā. Pākehā in my view which have become largely vagabonds to their own culture, who wander this country unaware largely of who we are, and to the power of the confiscation and violence that founded and continues in this country. To me the Pākeha should search for a thorough understanding culturally of herself, to find some balance in her stay here. To do this Pākehā should not seek this through Māoritanga, but primarily we should look into our own Pākehā history and that that make us up Pākehā culture itself, so we can be aware of ourselves fully as we learn, work , and live beside our to tangata whenua friends and family the indigenous people of this land.

Greetings to one and all

James Barnes