Waitangi Day. A celebration commemorating the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi, on February 6, 1840 - giving permission for the British Westminster legal system to enter Aotearoa, in order to govern Pākehā living in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
A treaty document where Māori agreed to share their own resources with the subjects of Queen Victoria, while retaining their own Māori sovereignty.
Any thought that Māori suddenly woke up one morning and decided to give everything they had away to a foreign Queen they had never met, in a country they had never been to, only makes sense to rapscallions such as Sir George Grey, Sir Donald McLean and Judge Prendergast.
I know of no Māori who harbour this thinking.
It is interesting to note Pākehā living in Aotearoa pre-Treaty, including William Colenso, spoke against the Treaty as they sensed the nature of things to come.
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On this matter Colenso's diary notes on the running and procedures of the day of signing are particularly unbiased.
The Treaty of Waitangi is for both Pākehā and Māori. But in practice it does not mean equity or sovereignty.
This was extinguished with the 1862 (and 1865) Native Land Acts, which made it illegal for Māori to own land communally.
The Native Land Court implemented decisions which disposessed Māori owners of their lands. This was aided by the 1863 New Zealand Settlements Act, passed during the English land grab wars, authorising the taking of Māori land – which was often done by force.
Any "native" opposed to this act was classified as a rebel and, if they survived slaughter they were imprisoned – effectively being charged as a squatter on their own lands. Some of the descendants of these survivors wander the streets of our country - still homeless today.
Various New Zealand Governments have talked about the Treaty in principle, but no Government has yet just simply implemented the principles stated in the Treaty. It doesn't matter who the Government is - it's the same bed, just a change of sheets.
This was highlighted right at very beginning, with the land grab wars started immediately after the signing of the Treaty.
Hone Heke Pokai was met with the might of the British Empire for chopping down his own flagpole, after being disillusioned with British authority undermining rangatiratanga. So much for a partnership.
In the early 1980s a Maori protest band, Aotearoa, fronted by Sir Joe Williams (now a Supreme Court judge), sang a song with the lyrics "stand up for your rights…".
This saw Brent Hansen, producer of the television programme Radio With Pictures, taken to court for transmitting such "rubbish and promoting bad race relations". Sid Jackson of Hastings, Ngāti Kahungunu, continued the fight together with his wife Hana, against the undermining of rangatiratanga in Aotearoa and preached that the Treaty was a fraud.
Having said this, today's generation of non-Māori New Zealanders are no more British than I am – they are by osmosis Ngāti Pākehā.
This issue is not between Māori and Pākehā but rather with the governing bodies and the way the Treaty is and isn't honoured.
Te Hira Henderson is Curator Taonga Māori at the MTG.