Sunday, February 07, 2010

Trick of treaty...ahhh flag it

Here's my refix of the tinorangatiratanga flag...softer, nicer, less in your face with added star value :)

...but following on from the devil being in the details, here's some treaty issues i was wondering about.

At what point did Maori chiefs cede their right to self governorship over their peoples ? Sure they ceded...

to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof. exchange for the rights and privileges of british subjects.

But that doesnt mean to say that by accepting those rights and privileges that they, as people, allowed themselves to be governed by british rule/law or that because of the signing they became british subjects. Seems implied that there is a choice to then, decline rights and privileges of british subjects and remain autonomous as Tuhoe, who never signed.

Even so, having rights and privileges means you are afforded the protection under british law as any traveller to the UK would have, but without a passport and citizenship, you are not a subject of the british gov't. Maori were and still are, as defined by the treaty, a native population with self governance over their own peoples.

They gave up sovereignty to land and sea as it applies to the territories, but the people should be an entirely different matter...yeah ? Like if i gave up sovereignty to my house, that doesnt mean to say i've ceded sovereignty over my family who live here ? It's not like we're slaves /chattels who came with the property and are gifted as part of the deed.

By that reasoning, Maori chiefs have a duty/obligation to still continually govern and provide for their own peoples if, by way of having resources, they have the power to do so ?

If on the other hand, it's implied that the chiefs ceded their right to exercise power over their subjects, as part of the rights they possess over their territories, then doesnt that mean the chiefs do not have any power to further be/act as chiefs on behalf of said subjects and territories with regard to sovereignty or any matter ?


BLiP said...

Well said.

pollywog said...

Thanx and following on from 'the standard', but also to keep a record here...

The time to cede from the treaty obligations from a maori perspective is when it is no longer a working document. At the moment it is and it is expedient for them, while there are claims and tribal disputes to be settled, to work within the parameters of the document.

Once all claims are fully and finally settled, the treaty will cease to be seen as working in favour of disparate iwi and perhaps by then maori will have put aside their tribal differences to unite, form their own bank and government, as they once had in the past, and helping themselves.

It's fairly obvious looking at education and employment stats that maori as a peoples have failed to capitalise on the current system of governance by british law. Urbanisation hasnt done them any favours either. The way things are going with globalisation and capitalist greed they'd be better off building communities on iwi land, coaxing back their whanau and forming subsistence networks as in the past.

If you were young, maori, with no real prospects to compete in the world as it stands but could live comfortably and outside of the competitive nature of capitalism on your own land in pristine locations.

why wouldn't you ?

Lew said...

Nice blog, PW. Especially enjoyed your goatnapping story, and the same thought has crossed my mind on a number of occasions.

There remains considerable debate as to what they did and didn't give up. For one thing, what they ceded was "governance" (kawanatanga). Sovereignty is more adequately translated as "tino rangatiratanga", which was expressly reserved.

The treaty (as consideration) granted chiefs "tino rangatiratanga o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa" which was translated as "full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession" in the English version. "Wenua" and "kainga" are obvious (lands and settlements) but in granting full and exclusive possession to "taonga katoa" the Crown left the pa gate wide open: the literal translation is "all treasures" or "all which is precious" -- so, basically, anything the chiefs wanted to retain, the Treaty gives them an arguable case to retain. hence langauge, culture, radio spectrum, electoral respresentation, Foreshore and Seabed, intellectual property in kumara cultivars, as well as the forestry and fishery and such which were named.

This is why a particularly useful way of explaining the Treat to europeans is as a contract. Tangata whenua gave the crown the right to govern, and in exchange the crown would not expropriate a whole lot of stuff which belonged to tangata whenua. This is a eurocentric reading of the treaty and not a complete reading, but it is usually sufficient to illustrate why tangata whenua had a claim: because the crown made a deal, and a deal can only be amended with the full consent of both parties.


pollywog said...

thanks for that Lew...

...i still interpret it as a land/sea resource management agreement with governance over the maori people strictly retained by rangatira, though afforded protection as britsh subjects but remaining native and autonomous

sure it's arguable what ranagtira did or didnt know about what they were signing over but i'm pretty sure governance over the people was beyond reproach and as such obviously not referenced in legal terms

that after all is their authority and power and you don't just give it away.

stephen said...

Lovin' that flag design!