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Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document

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Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document
MARTYN BRADBURY

 

The most significant thing about the Waitangi Tribunal ruling last week that Maori did not sign away Tino Rangatiratanga in 1840 is that it has reset with immediacy the role of the Treaty into the modern day.

 

If Maori sovereignty was not forfeited by signing the Treaty, then the Treaty really is a partnership between equals rather than the surrender of one culture to another. Little of this is news to Maori, but the dominant Pakeha culture seem in perpetual denial.

 

When the dominant culture benefits from injustice, there is little recognition of that injustice and any attempt to remind the dominant culture of all the down stream consequences of that injustice are belittled, denigrated and silenced. Maori lost 95% of their land within one century and the impact of that destruction to their economic base directly planted the seeds of the generational poverty Maori suffer from today, the ruling last week reminds us that these conclusions need not stand.

 

Every single negative social statistic can attest that Maori are still blighted by poverty and paying a pittance in reparation so the Crown can absolve itself of past wrongs isn't the actions of a State upholding its social obligations, it's the actions of a State ducking its responsibilities.

 

174 years have passed, and the promise of working together that the Treaty represents still demands a response from a Pakeha partner prepared to do their part in upholding that endeavour. It's not simply about saying sorry for the past, it's about how we will continue the journey tomorrow.

 

Martyn Bradbury

 

Editor - TheDailyBlog.co.nz

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