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Maori claiming British pensions may have case, say

Maori claiming British pensions may have case, says AUT academic

A claim by Ngapuhi leader David Rankin that Maori may be entitled to British pensions under the Treaty of Waitangi has won qualified support from a leading Treaty expert and historian.

Professor Paul Moon, of AUT University, says under Article Three of the Treaty, Maori were promised the same rights and privileges as British subjects, which could theoretically extend to areas such as British benefits and passports.

"This claim is being made based on a literal interpretation of the Treaty's third article," says Professor Moon. "While there is legislation to say that the New Zealand Government has taken on the responsibilities formerly held by the British Crown, some Maori are now saying that they never consented to this, and assert that their agreement was with the British Crown, and only the British Crown."

Professor Moon says it is also significant that it is the Matarahurahu hapu that is making this claim, because their chief in 1840 - Hone Heke - was the first to Maori in the country to sign the Treaty.

ENDS

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