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Treaty Debates Series 2006 At Te Papa

Thursday 25 January 2005

Treaty Debates Series 2006 - ‘Where to from Here? Looking Back to Move Forward’ - Points of view on the Treaty of Waitangi

Thursday 2 & Thursday 9 February 2006

Soundings Theatre, Level 2, Te Papa
Free entry

A new series of debates about the Treaty of Waitangi is to be chaired by Dr Claudia Orange, of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Professor Matthew Palmer, of Victoria University of Wellington. They will consider the theme ‘Where to from here? Looking back to move forward’.

In 2005, a notable contribution to the national debate on the Treaty of Waitangi was the broadcast of a series of debates recorded at Te Papa also about the Treaty’s place in our history and its present meaning.

In the upcoming debates, four speakers will focus on their own experiences to highlight key aspects of the Treaty relationship from different stakeholder viewpoints.

The first debate (Thursday 2 February, 6.30pm, Soundings Theatre, Te Papa) features Joe Williams, Chief Judge and Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal, and Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Head of the Law Commission. They will consider the future of the Treaty from Tribunal and political experiences.

The second debate (Thursday 9 February, 6.30pm, Soundings Theatre, Te Papa) features Apirana Mahuika, Chairman of Te Rünanga o Ngäti Porou, and Pat Snedden, an Auckland businessman and consultant, providing iwi and Päkehä perspectives.

The debates are organised by Te Papa in partnership with the New Zealand Centre for Public Law at Victoria University’s Law School. Radio New Zealand will record the series for broadcast later in February - on National Radio at 4.06pm, Sunday 5 and Sunday 12 February 2006.

This series coincides with TREATY 2 U, a touring exhibition that brings the story of the nation’s founding document to all New Zealanders through a unique nationwide show travelling in a state-of-the-art truck. TREATY 2 U will visit the Te Ra o te Raukura festival at Te Whiti Park, Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt, on Sunday 5 February, and the Festival of the Elements, Te Rauparaha Park, Porirua, on Monday 6 February. This exhibition is free entry.

Speaker Biographies

Chief Judge J V Williams Tribal affiliations - Ngäti Pukenga and Te Arawa (Waitaha, Tapuika)

Judge Williams was appointed Chief Judge, Mäori Land Court in December 1999. He is also the Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal. He was a junior lecturer in law at Victoria University in Wellington from 1986 to 1987, before gaining a Masters degree with first class honours in indigenous rights law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1988. He returned to New Zealand and later became a partner in Kensington Swan's Auckland office. In 1994, he co-founded Walters Williams & Co.

He specialised in litigation in areas of resource management and environmental law, Mäori issues and Treaty of Waitangi claims, Mäori land law, and all areas of administrative and public law. In 1999 he was awarded the Mäori Students Millennium Prize as a former student of Victoria University of Wellington. In 2001 he was appointed Fellow of Victoria University of Wellington Law Faculty.

Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer – President of the Law Commission
Sir Geoffrey was appointed President of the Law Commission on 1 December 2005 for a term of five years. Sir Geoffrey has had a long career in the law, as an academic lawyer, a politician, and a law practitioner. He graduated BA in political science and LLB from Victoria University, and was awarded a British Commonwealth Fellowship at the University of Chicago where he graduated Doctor of Law cum laude in 1967.

As the MP for Christchurch Central from 1979-90, he became Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and in 1989-90 he was Prime Minister of New Zealand. In 1994, he became a founding partner of Chen, Palmer & Partners, a Wellington-based public law legal firm, while continuing to teach at Victoria University of Wellington and at the University of Iowa. He left the firm to join the Law Commission.
Geoffrey Palmer has published many books and scholarly articles on legal matters. Since 2002, he has been the New Zealand Commissioner on the International Whaling Commission. He is a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council.

Patrick Snedden is a 51-year-old Päkehä who began his professional life in publishing after graduating in 1979 from Auckland University in accounting, economics, and anthropology. He has been self-employed since 1984 and acts as a business adviser for Health Care Aotearoa, a primary care network of Mäori, Pacific Island, and community groups within the not-for-profit health sector.

Since 1982 he has worked as an economic adviser to the Ngäti Whätua o Orakei Maori Trust Board and he is part of their Treaty negotiation team. He has been a corporate director for many years and was a founding director of Mai FM, this country’s first Mäori commercial radio station. He now has roles in public sector governance. Currently he chairs the Housing New Zealand Corporation and the Counties Manukau District Health Board and is a director on Watercare Services, a wastewater and water company for Auckland. In 2005 his book was published – Pakeha and the Treaty: Why it’s our Treaty too, Random House, Auckland.

When speaking on Treaty matters Patrick makes the point that these are his own views as a private citizen, not as a corporate director or a representative of any other organisation.

Apirana Tuahae Mahuika - Chairman of Te Rünanga o Ngäti Porou
Api was born and bred at Whakawhitira of Ngäti Porou. He attended Te Aute College and Auckland University, graduating with a BA. He was awarded the Elizabeth II postgraduate scholarship and went to Sydney University to gain his MA. His degrees are in anthropology, sociology, and education. He is a licensed interpreter in te reo and an ordained Anglican clergyman holding a Diploma in Theology from Selwyn College. He is a recipient of a 1990 Commemorative Medal and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy by the Waikato University in 2004.

He has been Chairman of Te Rünanga o Ngäti Porou since its inception. He received the prestigious Heritage Award from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 2005 for his commitment to, devotion to preserving, and protection of historic places.


Matthew Palmer Pro Vice Chancellor (Government Relations) and Dean of Law at Victoria University of Wellington, and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law. Previously he was Deputy Secretary for Justice (Public Law) for five years, and has also worked in the Treasury.

Dr Claudia Orange- author of the recent publication An Illustrated History of The Treaty of Waitangi, she is Te Papa’s Director History and Pacific Cultures (since November 2003), and is responsible for leading research, curatorial, and collection management functions with the History and Pacific teams.

Dr Orange has most recently been the General Editor of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, a position she held since 1990. Dr Orange was also Acting Chief Historian at the Department of Internal Affairs from 1997 to 2000, and has worked on the new, online encyclopaedia of New Zealand for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Dr Orange was a history lecturer at the University of Auckland from 1975 to 1983 and received the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997.


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