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Well-funded ‘Treaty education’ fails to impress

Well-funded ‘Treaty education’ fails to impress

The political debate over foreshore legislation, claims over Lake Taupo’s airspace and an avalanche of claims based on the Treaty of Waitangi are leaving a widespread feeling of anger, distaste and disempowerment. All this despite the State Services Minister Trevor Mallard’s well-funded ($6.475 million over the three years to 2005/06) Treaty of Waitangi Information Programme.

Even Labour’s new employment relations reform bill will force employers to have a principles-of-the-Treaty clause in their staff agreements. Most are less than impressed with state ‘Treaty education’ so far, especially as these issues are now likely to be incorporated into a new ‘constitution’ if Prime Minister Helen Clark has her way.

Prominent Treaty historian Dr. Paul Moon of Auckland University of Technology’s Te Ara Poutama Faculty of Maori Development has spoken out. “There is a very real danger”, says Dr. Moon, “that we will continue along the present path of forming opinions about the Treaty based on recent interpretations, with little reference to the actual Treaty and the times that created it.”

Teaming up with Auckland publisher Peter Biggs, tonight he launches his new book The Treaty and its Times: the illustrated history. In it he presents a major comprehensive, in-depth review of events that led to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and the five years that followed. Dr. Moon says “The book also gives that vital, usually missing, sense of perspective of the times in which these events occurred.” He continues “Now everyone can judge for themselves just how the Government’s ‘principles-of-the-Treaty‘ resemble the facts of 1840. The results will surprise many.”
Just as initiatives for a republic are appearing on the horizon, the authors are hoping this book will lead to wider view of some basic Treaty issues.

Book Launch: Browns, 287 St. Heliers Bay Rd, St. Heliers, Auckland
Thursday 18th November. 5:00 – 8:00 pm

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