Tena koutou katoa
I am a Pakeha New Zealander. I am appalled and ashamed that the government of my country, and the party that I have voted for all my life, could be displaying the arrogance and discrimination one might expect of a racist nineteenth century colonial administration.
The Treaty says very clearly that Maori are guaranteed absolute authority and control over the foreshores and seabeds, which are their 'taonga'. How can this government be so hypocritical as to name the Treaty as New Zealand's founding document and then shamelessly breach its terms?
In England, land which has never been purchased is considered to belong to the Crown. But we are not in England. In New Zealand, prior to colonisation all land, foreshores and fisheries belonged to the various hapu. Areas that hapu have not sold should still belong to the hapu, as the Treaty promised they would.
Listen to the words of Paora Tuhaere, spoken in 1879 at the Orakei Debate:
"Now, do you suppose that we still possess those fisheries that were to remain with us by the words of that Treaty? I think not. They have been taken away in spite of the words of this Treaty. I do not know how they went. They are not like lands or forests (a reference to the confiscation of lands). You have to make an agreement before they can be handed over or taken."
Over a century later, in 1987, the Courts confirmed that Maori had rights to the sea that had never been sold or leased.
In the same debate in 1879, Wi Tamihana Tukere said: " I object to the Europeans taking the fisheries where the flounders were caught, and stealing my mussels."
He was right - it amounts to theft to claim that the foreshores and seabed belong to the Crown (or even to all New Zealanders). The foreshores and seabed belong to hapu and in Article Two the Crown guaranteed that Maori would continue to have tino rangatiratanga over these taonga.
If this government had an understanding of its Article Two responsibilities, it would be making it clear that customary title can only be defined by hapu, according to their own tikanga. But this government does not even have the grace or the cultural knowledge to allow the host people to set the kawa for the 'consultation' hui. Putting a time limit on these hui is an insult and reveals the Crown's arrogant disregard of what is appropriate in the Maori world.
A just solution to the foreshores and seabed issue will take time to work through. It cannot be rushed. This is the Crown's opportunity to build bridges. Instead this government seems poised to create new grievances.
In 1869, Wirope Hoterini Taipari wrote to Governor Bowen:
" We have heard the assembly is searching out a law in respect of our land outside our town at Hauraki. Now let the action of the assembly in reference to that land cease, because that land does not belong to the Queen but to us only. It is a place from which we have obtained flounders and cockles and was a snipe preserve from the times of our ancestors down to us.
That land was considered valuable by our ancestors, it has been fought for and men have been killed on account of those lands from which we obtained fish, cockles and snipe. We still have the mana over those land ... Now let the Treaty of Waitangi be justly carried out."
My plea to the government is to listen to Maori and have the courage to do what is just. The Pakeha red-neck vote may not be as strong as you think. Now let the Treaty of Waitangi be justly carried out!
Naku iti nei, na
Back to foreshore and seabed information.
Help PMA grow | Petition forms | Site map | PMA main page