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Ngāpuhi Speaks - Pakeha Perspective

Press release
28 November 2012

Ngāpuhi Speaks - Pakeha Perspective

Tauiwi Treaty educators welcome independent observers report on Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu claim

Network Waitangi Whangarei spokeswoman Moea Armstrong said the independent treaty education group was honoured to be asked to co-publish the independent observers report that was launched on November 28.

She said the Ngāpuhi evidence vindicated the work of Māori, Pakeha, and Tauīwi treaty educators over the past 40 years.

“This report clarifies for New Zealanders the truth about the treaty, which first must be heard and acknowledged by governments and citizens if we are to move forward together as a nation.”

“We salute the speakers who brought their ancestors’ world and words into the 21st Century for us to understand, and the commissioners of this report for their strength in upholding the mana of the covenants, and for speaking truth to power about the inherent bias in the settlement process.”

She said the information on the evolution in the early 1800s of Te Wakaminenga o Nga Hapū o Nū Tīreni, and their Declaration of Independence, He Wakaputanga, will come as news to most New Zealanders. “This is the history book we need all our children to study and understand. We can’t know where we’re going as a nation without knowing where we’ve come from.”

She said Ngāpuhi had given the Waitangi Tribunal another chance to back one treaty - to give the country the opportunity to ‘get on the same page’ and have a real conversation together into the future. “Talking past each other, and the outsized English version panel at Te Papa, can now go.”

“The members of the first Tribunal in 1975 could have refused to try to merge the two contradictory documents, and made determining a primary text their first job. They didn’t, because the Act that created them instructed that they give equal weight to both. In retrospect that was a mistake which has cost us a lot of time and energy.”

She said the report was required reading before embarking on conversations about constitutional change.

“We can now stop trying to fudge constitutional issues by clinging to the English text. It’s time to let it go as the historical curiosity it is. It has served a nefarious purpose by wrongfully portraying the real treaty as either a cession of sovereignty or a cession of governance. That just didn’t happen.”

“The sooner we are all on the same page, the better the debates around implementing the treaty this century will be, and the easier we will find the constitutional change dialogue.” She said New Zealand had led the world in other major social changes and ratifying the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was our next challenge.

“The panel’s recommendations are clear and fair. Carrying them out will bring us closer together and help us toward the peaceful prosperity for both cultures that Te Tiriti envisaged. New Zealanders have nothing to fear from acknowledging Te Tiriti, and everything to gain.”

“We’ve come a long way in the nearly 60 years since the first edition of ‘Ask That Mountain’ was written. If anyone is still waiting for an answer, ‘Ngāpuhi Speaks’ is it.”

ends

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