Treaty of Waitangi ‘a brick wall’ – Mai Chen
Wed, 06 Feb 2013 8:08a.m.
By Kim Choe
Constitutional law expert Mai Chen says it will be difficult to reconcile the interests of Maori with the rest of New Zealand in a written constitution.
A panel is currently seeking New Zealanders’ views on the country’s constitutional arrangements, including what status the Treaty of Waitangi should have in law.
New Zealand is one of just three countries that doesn’t have a formal constitution recorded in a single document.
Governing principles are instead found in various pieces of legislation, treaties, court decisions and conventions.
Mana Party MP Hone Harawira says people in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate want to see the Treaty play a central part in any new constitution.
“We want to see the declaration [of Independence] and the Treaty entrenched as the cornerstones of any constitution document this country might have,” he says.
Ms Chen says clarity would be helpful for everyone, but says consensus would be near impossible because differing attitudes towards the Treaty would act as “a brick wall”.
“What Maori want, the majority don’t want,” she says. “And in constitutional reviews there’s often a dichotomy. You get a majority of Pakeha who’ll say let sleeping dogs lie – it’s not broke, why fix it… And then you get a lot of Maori submitters who say, it absolutely is broke, we’re really unhappy, we don’t like it, you need to resolve the status of the Treaty.”
Ms Chen believes the current model that allows claims to be taken to the Waitangi Tribunal and to court to be determined by a judge is the best way for the Treaty’s status to be decided.
“That will have an impact on the nature of Maori rights and interests and on the interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi and what it means.”
Ms Chen says Maori have an extensive relationship with the Government which, although strained at times, is evolving.
“We are coming into a situation where a lot of these historic settlements have been settled and iwi and hapu are getting settlements back.”
She says the post-settlement relationship Maori have with the Government is just as important as negotiations leading up to that point, especially as the number of New Zealanders identifying as Maori continues to grow.
“I don’t think Waitangi Day’s a small deal and I don’t think it’s going away. I think it’s becoming more of a big deal than it was,” she says.
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27/02/2013 8:16:36 p.m.
Boom stop being an idiot two separate nations signed the Treaty stupid! In the same way NZ on the global stage is a separatist nation to China, to Japan, to any ethnic country state and multicultural country state for that matter. Your rationale lacks intelligence! And I guess your want to be remembered as a proud NZer? Yeah Right! Jane ... No. For the sake of Aotearoa NZ yes so beg my pardon, 8: Wrongful imprisonment without trial. Rather horrifying don't you think Jane? Boom your hate accusations will be better directed at Rodney Hyde, he loves people like you, maybe get to tango with him on the trot Boom, that's you isn't it Boom?
27/02/2013 2:36:56 p.m.
Adrian you can justify to yourself separatism (Noun, The advocacy or practice of separation of a certain group of people from a larger body on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or gender) all you want but history will show you and remember you as the idiot you are as many have been before you, your hate blinds you.
27/02/2013 12:53:50 p.m.
All that aside Adrian...time to move on for the sake of NZ don't you think.
26/02/2013 9:37:26 p.m.
OK Jane before we go any further let's describe the serious nature of the abuse as we know it (Not one sided as you claim). 1: Illegal land confiscation; that's a given. 2: Atrocities non discrimation of innocent lives massacred including women and children - scorched earth policy. 3: Displacement - forced Iwi and hapuu refugees to shelter in some cases in enemy territory. 4: The psychological scaring imposed upon those targeted societies, systematic and government authorised reoccurring sequential incidents 5: Forced impoverishment 6: Dispossession of assests including exclusive authority over own territory 7: Disenfranchisement to continue participating in the international established Maaori economy as it was then. Jane that's an insight into the historical abuse that many know happened and well documented. So when the Government arrogantly shuns Maaori in the modern era from participating in significant matters that concern Aotearoa NZ then of course the Governments deliberate choice to flex arrogance and ignorance translates into perpetual abuse. That Jane is inexcusable and deserving of disempowerment directed at the perpetrator, the villain in a moral sense. Again I repeat, high end thinking, abuse is abuse. Violations of that scale don't compare to the low end violation that many Pakeha and fewer Maaori commit in today's society, it's far from being a worthy argument to weigh in on.
25/02/2013 4:19:21 p.m.
Adrian, the so called abuse obviously was very one sided in your mind...if you were open minded you'd see that your side has done quite a far amount of abuse themselves...both to themselves and to the people who wish to live in a society that includes all races.Maori have certainly abused the meaning of the original TOW along with people like Mai Chen who have done so to make money from it.
25/02/2013 9:15:07 a.m.
Telling it how it is Adrian, no matter how upset it makes people,excellent. If successive govts in NZ want to stand on a foundation of what's right and a system of justice for all, they have to put right the abuses of the past without political recriminations.
24/02/2013 6:57:47 p.m.
Jane abuse is abuse and it's ludicrous why a person or a nation would want to remain in an abusive relationship no matter what the abusers good points may be. Religious leaders as good as they may have been to thier communities aren't immuned to historic sexual abuse allegations, so why should a nation that has confessed to its indegresions equivalent be exonerated from what common law is meant to protect us against? Abuse is abuse Jane understand it for what it is.
24/02/2013 2:34:42 p.m.
Adrian....not everyone wants to live in a Third World country which is what NZ would be if you had your way...non Maori have done a lot for this country which you obviously cant accept.
23/02/2013 7:34:24 p.m.
The Crown is non deserving of anything given the unravelling totalities (treaty settlements) of its indiscretions. Certainly not exclusive control and power over those societies it purposely destroyed and devastated, and inflicted over generations. Not the type of relationship that I would want to remain a party of unless of course power and control shifted somewhat in the same way common law treats serious repeated abusers... oh what's that one might ask? Answer: Returning societies to an ultimate position of prior state.
22/02/2013 7:15:20 p.m.
@Advocate when you have mounting evidence against you that compromises your priviledge position to sell Maaori land, then within a blink of an eye that priviledge position decends into who can steal (thieve) the most Maaori owned land; sort of in a modern day compensatory way defunc (unbinding) any legal commitment prior to the Crown, wouldn't you think?
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