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Termination of Treaty 'has British Govt support'

Termination of Treaty 'has British Government support'.

In a controversial move, the leader of Northland's Matarahurahu hapu, David Rankin, has announced that he will be the first hapu in the country to withdraw from the Treaty of Waitangi. Mr. Rankin's ancestor, Hone Heke, was the first chief in the country to sign the Treaty on 6 February 1840.

'Our withdrawal from the Treaty is in accordance with international law governing Treaty relationships,' says Mr. Rankin. 'The process will involve me, on behalf of the hapu, officially advising the British High Commissioner and the New Zealand Government of this decision'.

Mr. Rankin has received qualified support from Treaty expert and historian, Professor Paul Moon, who points out that under the Vienna Convention on Treaties, provision exists for treaties to be terminated in this way.

As for the consequences, Mr Rankin is clear: 'The Crown will now have to recognise Matarahurahu sovereignty, and failure to do so will be a clear breach of international law', he points out. 'In addition', he says, 'the British High Commissioner has supported this move by refusing to uphold Britain's Treaty obligations with us any longer'.

ENDS

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