The noun "university" assumes that there is only one universal truth – the white settler/invader truth.
Given that part of my current research is concerned with making the case against the treaty-led university, as trumpeted by Massey and Otago, you can imagine how my eyes rolled on Monday morning to read Canterbury University proclaiming itself as the first "Treaty University". Possibly not so.
At this point, I wish to invoke my "super-brain powers" as the critic and conscience of society.
In terms of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the term used here because it is the actual official version), not every hapū or iwi signed the document.
The Waitangi Tribunal Te Paparahi o Te Raki Report in 2014 stated if your representative signed the document, you still maintained mana motuhake (indigenous sovereignty).
My work asserts if you didn't sign it, you still maintained mana and that the government does not have sovereignty.
Also, the Government promotes mythmaking that the treaty is a "founding document". It is not. This myth is designed to remove the discussion away from the true experiences of non-signatory hapū and iwi to stop us thinking about Rangiriri, Rangiaowhia or Ngātapa.
One thing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has right is the creation of a new history curriculum. But the questions still remains – whose histories? And what narratives underpin it?
Biculturalism in the literature is acknowledged as settler colonial and neo-liberal. Political scientist Professor Dominic O'Sullivan (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu) states it does not provide for tino rangatiratanga.
Additionally, in my work, it does not recognise mana.
Why then do we continue to use "zombie concepts" – ideas that are dead but kept alive to maintain current power structures?
In Aotearoa New Zealand, white fragility and possessiveness supports the settler/invader government to maintain ill-gotten power or "sovereignty", that is patriarchal and white. As a result, white supremacy continues.
This also happens in our universities. Universities are designed to exclude brown people.
Since the 1990s, the modern university, as a result of neo-liberal public management, operates on the basis of the three Ms – managerialism, massification and marketing (3Ms).
These drivers have created what Flinders University Professor of Cultural Studies Tara Brabazon calls the modern "zombie university".
The modern university is a basket case. This is reinforced by publications with titles like "Whackademia", "Dark Academia", "The University of Google" and "The Good University: What Universities Actually Do and Why It's Time for Radical Change".
Just look at the voicemail incident towards Pasifika academic Jemaima Tiatia-Seath, Waikato's Racism inquiry or the Science v Mātauranga letter debate. These underscore that the modern university is in trouble.
The 3Ms university management approach actually supresses diversity in these institutions. This is against a backdrop of worldwide social movements calling for significant change like "I too, am Auckland/Harvard" or "Rhodes Must Fall".
It's great that Canterbury has opened five targeted professorships. However, just because you hire a Māori person does not mean that your thinking is decolonised and/or critical in your approach.
Critical voices in the modern university are vital but suppressed, thus perpetuating discussions about bicultural Treaty-based inclusion.
After all, universities are not places designed to incorporate non-white people. This is mostly highlighted in the research: Why isn't my Professor Māori/Pasifika/Black?
If you want to increase your impact on Māori communities, you actually have to be present where the Māori community resides. Universities are set up as places and in places of settler/invader power.
As a society, and as intellectuals in these institutions, we must stop beating the proverbial dead horse with "the whip of bicultural inclusion".
Start doing something that is truly meaningful and inclusive and not based on public management.
This is highlighted, most alarmingly, in the Stuff article on Canterbury's "Treaty University". The concept was rejected about 10 years ago as being probably "too radical" or "too much money" by non-indigenous administrators. Ironically, the approach is now out of date.
What is needed is the creation of the pluriversity. Pluriversities acknowledge and provide for different languages, cultures, and knowledges which they teach and research accordingly. Being Treaty-based is great for public relations but, at most, is just surface-level inclusiveness.
Our universities are charged here with intellectual laziness if they don't consider the most up to-date research on Te Tiriti and its use in invader/settler colonialism and white possessiveness. They are perpetuating the 3Ms and violence against Māori communities
Inclusion methods such as being Treaty-based continue biculturalism and what Aboriginal Australian academic Madi Day observes as placing "indigenous people and their power to change society into a container".
• Hemopereki Simon, Ngāti Tūwharetoa hapū Ngāti Tūtemohuta and Ngāti Rūingārangi, is a RJI Research Fellow at Mills College in California, based in Taupō. He is a research expert in indigenous politics and Te Tiriti.