DR BRASH may have filled many important roles, but serious historian is not one of them.

Adherents of Hobson's Pledge assert, among other things, that Maori ceded their sovereignty to the Crown, and that the Treaty of Waitangi did not create a partnership between Maori and the Crown.

This basic (and false) claim in no way represents the true nature of the Maori view of Te Tiriti o Waitangi at the time of their signing.

Maori chiefs who signed did not cede their sovereignty over their own people and resources (tino rangatiratanga), nor were they required to do so. Article Two of Te Tiriti, the te reo Maori version, when translated to English, reads: "The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the sub-tribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures".


Article Two of Te Tiriti constitutes the essential foundation for the Maori view that the Treaty was in essence a partnership between two forms of sovereignty: English law and order and protection as represented by Queen Victoria (specifically the Crown) and Tino Rangatiratanga, the sovereignty of unconquered chiefs.

Further, the imposition of English law in New Zealand was welcomed by Maori, not to supplant their own tikanga and kaupapa Maori but to control the unruly and lawless Pakeha arriving at their shores.

At that time, Kororāreka, the main Pakeha settlement, was widely regarded as the most lawless spot on the planet.

The concept of partnership was also rooted in the Maori desire to benefit from Pakeha knowledge and technology. Chiefs and their tribes competed to attract and host mission stations; a trade-off of land occupation rights in return for European knowledge and tools.

In large part, the Treaty was regarded by Maori as a larger-scale opportunity and basis for such a partnership. The fact that subsequent colonisation by Pakeha did not proceed as originally envisaged or desired by Maori does not in any way diminish the Maori view then and now that the Treaty was and is essentially a partnership.

As a fourth-generation Pakeha whose forebears settled here at the time of the Treaty, I see many advantages in accepting and adopting the Maori concept of partnership and pluralism to advance their future welfare as a people.

After all, the colonial Pakeha sovereignty model hasn't worked too well for Maori to date.

Rhodes Scholar, Castlecliff

Fudging of wording

I invite David James, who denigrates me, (Chronicle, August 25) to identify any flaws in my work on the Treaty of Waitangi and related topics.

James is, or was, a principal of the Rowan Partnership which gives seminars explaining the Treaty — something which can actually be done in five minutes.

One of the handouts on such occasions has been a copy of the 1869 official translation of the Treaty by T E Young of the Native Department which in article Second "agrees to give to the Chiefs, the Hapus and all the people of New Zealand the full chieftainship of their lands".

However, after the words "all the people of New Zealand" have been inserted the words "[ie Maori]". Can Mr James explain this fudging of the wording to write everybody but Maori out of the rights guaranteed by Article second?


Fluoride by choice

Cut it out, Chris Price (letter "Fluoride dose", August 18). Actually, on second thought, keep it up — shooting yourself in the foot, that is.

Your letter did just that, again. I quote your closing paragraph: "Opponents [to fluoride] are only saying they don't want it in their water. They demand the water meet their own personal chemical specifications."

Chris, your many letters consistently assert your "knowledge" of fluoride. And yet you miss the glaring irony in your letter.

I am duty-bound, therefore, to spell it out in simple terms: You are demanding the water meets your personal chemical specifications, while at the same decrying the democratic right of others to do the same ...

I fancy I hear Chris Price's counter-argument already — "Personal specifications, when hundreds of millions of people across the world already drink fluoridated water?" No, Chris, you already stated that case in a Chronicle letter quite some time ago. And quite some time ago I responded with a Chronicle letter pointing out the equal hundreds of millions who do not drink fluoridated water.

If we all want to preserve our freedoms in this democracy, then those who want fluoride can buy the toothpaste with it in. It won't cost them because they buy toothpaste anyway. And the rest of us will do very well without the enforced chemical medication of something we don't want in our water.

And if there is any problem with that last bit of democratic, impeccable logic, I should be very interested indeed to learn of it, but only via these columns.


Dear Donald

Dear Donald Trump, riddle me
this ...

What's as white as the neck of a black-backed gull,
And black as the white when the light is null?
It starts with a tea and ends with a mother,
But not of invention nor alternative other.
This word will out — without a doubt,
And if be told (may I say this bold?),
Your lawyers are gonna need lots more gold.
As Byron had it: "Tis stranger than fiction",
And may well lead to your own conviction.
So, let's put a name on this crazy horse,
Who am I? Why, Truth, of course.


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