Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8BtwU31O5Q&
“Māori were beginning to feel the pressure in different ways — pressures that weren't always easy to handle.”
Richard Foy, chief archivist for Archives New Zealand: Tena koutou katoa.Ko te mea tuatahi, ka mihi atu ki a ratou kua mene ki te po, kua wheturangitia otira; e nga mate kei runga i a tatou katoa, moe mai, moe mai, moe te atu.
Ko ratou tera te hunga mate ki te whangamate, ko tatou tenei, e noho ora nei, mauri ora ki a tatou katoa.Nau mai, haere mai ki te Wharepukapuka o Aotearoa. Haere mai ki te korero mo nga mea pa ana ki Te Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene. No reira, ahakoa he mene poto tenei, e mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa nga hau e wha; nau mai, haere mai.
Tena koutou, tena koutou, a tena ra tatou katoa. E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga rau rangatira ma, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Ko Wong Gwok Fei toku ingoa tuturu.Ko Richard Foy ahau.
Ko au te tumuaki o te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga. No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Welcome to the National Library. I'm Richard Foy, chief archivist for Archives New Zealand. Before I introduce tonight's amazing event, with an amazing crowd here, I thought I'd just better run through some of the health and safety and housekeeping messages that I'm always obliged to give.
So, the first thing is that the bathrooms are located in the stairwell at the far side of the main hall. So, I'm just pointing in the general direction. You'll see some signs there — signage for the bathrooms.
If we need to evacuate the building, please go out through the main glass doors to Molesworth St, and make your way across to the Court of Appeal, across Aitken St. So just out there and across to the Court of Appeal.
If there's an earthquake, drop, cover, hold and stay put until you're given further instructions. Don't run outside; you are very safe in this building. I myself have been in this building when there's been a very shaky earthquake, and it was very safe.
So, before I introduce to the talk, I just want to say, as chief archivist I have statutory responsibility as kaitiaki of He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene and Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the New Zealand Women's Suffrage Petition.
I noticed a lot of you...a number of you went into He Tohu before and enjoyed the exhibition in the document room. I don't know if any of you left fingermarks on the cases. If you did, I have to go and tidy them up after this. But, yeah, despite being the chief archivist and they being under my care, I'm not an expert.
So, it's wonderful to be here tonight to listen to some experts, people who have studied these documents. And what a great day to be having this. It's just one week after Waitangi Day. But actually, as I like to say to everyone who comes to He Tohu, every day is Waitangi Day here. Every day is Women's Suffrage Day here, and every day is He Whakaputanga Day here.
So, in this talk our panellists, Dame Claudia Orange and Morgan Godfery, will discuss He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi with the chair, Carwyn Jones.
They're going to explore the history of these remarkable, incredible, precious documents over the past two centuries, and they are going to reflect on and talk about — and maybe a bit of debate — about their significance for us as New Zealanders in a 21st century New Zealand.
To mark the He Tohu exhibition, Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand collaborated with Bridget Williams to produce three books, that tell the story of these iconic New Zealand documents.
Each book features an introduction to the document, a full-colour reproduction of the document pages, and the biographies of the signatories. So, you can see them, just up there. They can be purchased at the National Library shop, after the talk, which is just over there.
Please buy them. They're fantastic books. I've got a set. Buy the box set. It's really great. Buy one for yourself; buy one for someone you care about; buy one for someone you don't like. The store also holds a number of other books from Bridget Williams and publications by Dame Claudia Orange and Morgan Godfery. Buy lots of them.
Finally, I'd like to introduce Dr Carwyn Jones.
He is of Ngati Kahungunu and Te Aitianga-a-Mahaki descent. His main research interests are the Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous legal traditions. He's currently senior lecturer at the Victoria University School of Law. He's also worked at the Waitangi Tribunal, Māori Land Court, and the Office of Treaty Settlements.
He is the author of New Treaty, New Tradition and is the co-editor of the Māori Law Review. And I'd like to welcome Carwyn to the lectern, and he can introduce our other panellists.
Dr Carwyn Jones: Thank you, Richard, for the introduction, and the organisers of this evening's event, and, of course, to all of you who have come along.
It's really fantastic to see so many people here this evening. So I'm just going to, first of all, initially introduce my two co-panellists here and explain a little bit about the format for this evening before we get going.
So just by way of introduction, first of all, we've got a couple of fantastic people here to speak about He Whakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence.
First of all, we have, just to my right here, Dame Claudia Orange. And Dame Claudia will be well known to many of you. She's an honorary research fellow at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand, and she previously headed the museum's History and Pacific Cultures section.
She's well known, of course, for her book on the Treaty of Waitangi from 1987, but also has been involved as the general editor of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography — a major project from 1990 to 2003; acting chief historian from 1997 to 2000, at the History Group in the Department of Internal Affairs.
And she was awarded an OBE in 1993 and a Distinguished Companion of the Order of New Zealand in 2009. So we're very lucky to have Dame Claudia here with us tonight. Sitting next to Dame Claudia, we have Morgan Godfery.
Now, Morgan may also be well known to many of you. He's a writer, trade unionist; he's based here in Wellington. He's an online columnist for Overland Literary Journal in Australia and a regular book reviewer for Fairfax Publications.
His writing regularly appears in the Guardian and the Herald, and he also appears on radio and television as a political commentator. He's authored a number of academic chapters and lectured on topics relating to Māori politics. And I'm also pleased to say that he's a graduate in Lawfrom Victoria University.
So the format of this evening is that we're going to have short presentations from each of us. We'll begin with Dame Claudia, and then I'll come back to talk to you again, and then we'll have a short presentation from Morgan. And that's a good reminder. Now might be a good opportunity to make sure your cell phones are turned off or at least switched to silent.
So each of Claudia, myself and Morgan will give a short presentation. There'll be opportunities for questions from the floor at the end.
So if you have questions that you'd like to put to any of us, please keep those in mind and hold them till the end. We're going to give a short presentation each, then we're going to have — I have some questions for both of these two that we'll have a little discussion about.
So we'll have a short time for that, but I will make sure that there is an opportunity for questions at the end from the audience as well. And we'll aim to finish by around 7 o'clock so that we're keeping good time. OK, I think that's all I have to say in terms of the format and structure of the evening.
And so, with that I'd ask you to welcome Dame Claudia Orange to speak.
Dame Claudia Orange: Well, kia ora tatou katoa.
On your seat, you've got something that I had copied today which might be useful to you, because in our talking about the Declaration, and surprisingly, in the book, and in the exhibition, we haven't put in the English. I think you will find it interesting to compare the two. And it relates, of course, to the very brief outline of 10 minutes that I'm just about to give you.
I think one way of looking at the Declaration of Independence is that we can call it the first constitutional-type document of our country. And you might well wonder why you haven't heard about it. It's largely because, again, it didn't quite work out the way it might have been intended to and it was superseded by the Treaty. But first of all, what does it actually say?
It really is an assertion of New Zealand's independence and also sovereignty held in a collective way by a confederation of independent hapu who were always wanting to be independent.
In fact, very often, at different times, one or other would have fought each other, and still did so a little bit after the confederation agreement. But it also is important, really, for those of us who've worked on the Treaty and related factors in the sense that it set the scene, in a way, for the British moves in 1838 and '39 and '40 to assert British sovereignty if they could.
So how did it come about? Why was it made?
Well, just quickly setting the context, most of you or many of you will already know that for several decades, the Bay of Islands — this was before 1840 — for several decades, the Bay of Islands had been a key port for Pacific trade and whaling vessels seeking what I always call R 'n' R - rest and recreation - and provisioning, with everything that that entailed.
And chiefs had jockeyed for positions to be key players in this development, largely out of New South Wales that the development had occurred in the trading, and that, of course, had been set up as a British penal colony after 1788. So there were about 50 years which we don't really take into account often enough.
50 years before 1840 and the Treaty is signed. In the 1830s, however, chiefs and Europeans, especially missionaries, were increasingly aware of foreign power interest in the Pacific. France and the United States, believe it or not, had been quite active in the Pacific. Whalers of both countries were increasingly circling round our waters here and coming into the Bay of Islands.
So much of what was going on in the Pacific was definitely not unknown to Māori — in the north, particularly; to some extent, elsewhere on the coast too. And in the 1830s, chiefs were also beginning to feel the pressure of foreigners in New Zealand — not very many. Even in 1840, only about 2000 as against probably 100,000 or more Māori.
But Māori were beginning to feel the pressure in different ways — pressures that weren't always easy to handle. To survive, foreigners had established what I always called a workable accord with Māori, certainly up until that time.
But in the 1830s, British subjects, particularly in the north, started to express a need for some sort of British support of their trading activities. Britain was pretty reluctant.
She said, 'Trade is all very well. You go for it. 'But you don't need to take the flag as inevitably going to follow.' So they tinkered around with that for several years. However, a British representative, James Busby, was appointed in 1832 to support British trade, but also to encourage chiefs to work together. That was part of his instructions.
He did this, in fact, first in 1834 for providing Māori with a choice of flags for a national flag which was going to be flown on ships being built in New Zealand.
If they didn't fly a national flag and they weren't in some way registered, then they could be impounded as pirate ships without a flag on the open sea.
And one was impounded in Sydney in 1830, actually. But then in 1835, Busby took another step, and this time in response to a possible foreign intrusion on New Zealand's land.
One foreigner, a Frenchman, Baron de Thierry, who was living at that time in Tahiti, wrote to Busby and also to Henry Williams, the senior missionary in the Bay of Islands, in 1835 saying he would arrive to assert sovereign power in Hokianga, where he had bought some land. It was an extreme and ridiculous claim that he made, and Busby thought that probably the man was mad. But he also felt that he needed to make some sort of a stand.
So he alerted Europeans in the Bay of Islands to this, and then he also turned to Māori. Māori experience of the French had certainly not been good.
In 1772, Marion du Fresne’s experience in the Bay of Islands had actually resulted in deaths on both sides — Māori and French. And another scare in 1831 had caused a group of chiefs in the Kerikeri area to petition the British Crown for protection.
And so this new potential threat was the driver that brought chiefs together to meet at Waitangi and discuss the threat — potential threat.
Busby drafted a declaration of the country's independence, and it was presented there for discussion. So he wrote it in English. Henry Williams, who also felt that maybe they'd better do something, translated it in Māori, and Eruera Pare wrote it up as the final text. So, it was a combined effort, really, of missionary, Māori and Busby.
But what does it say? You can see that in front of you there. Its title is really quite important because, again, it relates to the Treaty later. He Whakaputanga — a coming out, an expression of rangatiratanga of Nu Tirene.
The first part says that the country is 'he whenua rangatira', an independent state. The Second Article really says 'ko te kingitanga, ko te mana i te whenua' — sovereign power and authority rested with the confederation of united tribes.
Of course, they were only in the north at that stage. This confederation — whakaminenga — would meet annually at Waitangi to frame laws for the benefit of the country, and they'd invite others to join.
And the confederation would send this declaration to the King of England and seek protection for their developing nation state. And how many signed? Well, 34 chiefs who were at Waitangi signed on the 28th of October 1835.
And over the following years, more signed, until the total was 52. It was mainly signed by those in the north, but others signed too — Te Hapuku, of the area that today we call Hawke's Bay; and in July 1839, quite late in the piece, Te Wherowhero, the chief of Waikato-Tainui, signed.
In fact, it was a scribe that signed for him, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have signed had he not given authority. The British government — and this is the important feature — acknowledged receiving the declaration, and this set the scene for the treaty making.
In decision-making and taking any moves in New Zealand, it really had to take that declaration of sovereignty into consideration. They acknowledged receiving it, and the country's independent status was also well known internationally. A United States consul had been appointed, for example, in 1839.
So in decisions prior to sending William Hobson to New Zealand in late 1839, the government had to recognise that, even though actually doubting the capacity of an indigenous people to assert sovereign independence.
And this, of course, leads into the Treaty. Hobson had instructions that he would make a treaty. He could take all of New Zealand, or part of it; he wanted the whole; it would come to that conclusion, and he was instructed of all different things, which I think at this stage, I might hand over to the next person to tell you about. I'll come back.
Dr Carwyn Jones: Thank you very much for that introduction, Dame Claudia, to the declaration and its content. And I'm going to pick up a little bit more on some of that content and some of the terms that are used, particularly leading into Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how our understanding of the concepts that are contained in Te Tiriti o Waitangi are very much informed by those concepts that we see in He Whakaputanga.
And essentially, there are two key points that I want to touch on in these brief comments. And the first is the one I've already mentioned — those ideas about autonomy and independence that we see coming through in He Whakaputanga are absolutely crucial to understanding the constitutional relationship that has been established in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
And then secondly, the other thing I think is really important about He Whakaputanga in that kind of constitutional sense is that it helps, I think, to illustrate the point that the constitutional relationship between Māori and the Crown is more multidimensional than simply Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Though I would argue that Te Tiriti does provide a kind of primary lens through which we understand that relationship. But that's not the beginning and the end of it. So just to come back to this idea of a constitutional relationship — what am I talking about when I'm talking about a constitution or a constitutional relationship?
I think one of the quite simple ways that I like, of understanding this, which Matthew Palmer uses in his book on the Treaty of Waitangi — he describes the Constitution as 'expressing or determining 'who exercises public power and how they exercise it'.
Another aspect of how I like to think about what a constitution might entail comes from Moana Jackson and the report of the Matike Mai Aotearoa, which is the Independent Working Group on Constitutional Transformation. And in that, the report just says,
'In functional terms, constitutions are based on what may be termed a concept and a site of power. The concept of power is the idea or philosophy a society develops about what constitutional authority is, and the values or interests that underpin it.'
And then, 'the site of power is the institution or the place where a society decides that power might be exercised, and then the limits, the parameters of that public power.
So for example, in the context of what we might think of as a largely European tradition, where we have constitutional authority largely concentrated in a monarch, in parliament, often.
And... Although I do want to make the point that the idea of sovereignty in that context, particularly through the 18th century, at least, in that European sense, was not maybe as hard and as fast as we might think of it today, in the sense that it didn't always mean denying the existence of other authorities. And so, for example, the British Empire was actually quite proud of the fact that in its empire, it had provision for quite a range of legal diversity, through the 18th century, at least.
Now, other groups, of course, have different ideas about what public power is and what constitutional authority is and needs to be for their own purposes and how they structure that.
We might think of the Haudenosaunee Confederation in Northern New York, the state of New York, and Southern Quebec, where they have six different nations who have come together and have a long history of diplomatic engagement between those nations in order to provide structures that deliver on the autonomy of those nations, while making collective decisions.
In the context of Māori and Aotearoa, largely, I think we'd say that the concept of power is bound up with the idea of mana that exercise of authority and certainly of public power. And the site of authority is often referred to as being situated with rangatira, with those leaders, or chiefs.
And that's where we see some of these concepts in He Whakaputanga, and then later Te Tiriti, come to be really significant and important.
One of the ways in which I like have heard people describe what a rangatira is and the constitutional parameters of what a rangatira does is from the late Manuhuia Bennett, and he said, 'Te kai a te rangatira he korero, so the food of the chief is speech, 'Te tohu o te rangatira he manaaki,' the sign of a chief is nurturing or caring for others, and, 'Te mahi a te rangatira he whakatira te iwi;' so the work of the rangatira is bringing together the people.
And so we see here that the kai of the rangatira, that sustenance of that authority is giving voice to the concerns of the people and articulating the needs of the people.
The tohu, or the sign, is the obligation to manaaki, to look after not only your own people but also others as well. And the key work or the function, the role of rangatira, is to bring the people together, which also entails thinking about relationships with land and resources and how to husband those as well, and respond and engage with those.
So the important site of authority is captured in those ideas around what a rangatira is, and we see that in the language of He Whakaputanga, and indeed later, Te Tiriti o Waitangi. And as Claudia has already mentioned, we see even in the name of He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga — so it's capturing that idea of rangatira.
And where the declaration talks of independence and an independent state, it talks about rangatiratanga, and 'he whenua rangatira' for an independent state.
It uses ideas of mana, where we see it talks about what in the English is described as sovereign power and authority; and the Māori text uses phrases like kingitanga, coming from the English word for 'king'; but 'mana i te whenua'.
And some people think mana i te whenua means 'authority over the territory'. But a lot of evidence from Māori linguists from the north say 'mana i te whenua' is really talking about that authority that comes from the land — not authority over the land.
And again, we see those ideas coming through in these concepts of autonomy and independence and authority coming through into Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
And so we see one of the key guarantees in Te Tiriti o Waitangi being that guarantee in Article Two of tino rangatiratanga — those very special, absolute qualities of chieftainship, that self-determination and autonomy.
And when you look at that guarantee of tino rangatiratanga in Te Tiriti, it has to be understood in the context of this statement. Initially in 1835, but as Claudia's already mentioned, Te Wherowhero was signing only a matter of months before Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed.
The way in which we understand the autonomy and authority and the statement of independence that's contained in the declaration.
Now, that's really the essential point that I want to make, is that when we're looking at what the Treaty says about the constitutional relationship, it needs to be underpinned by what we know about what He Whakaputanga says and how those ideas of rangatiratanga and mana are expressed there and understood by those who were signing.
The other quick point that I want to make before I hand over to Morgan is just this point that Te Tiriti is not the only interface between Māori and the Crown.
And I think, in Aotearoa, we tend to think of that relationship being mediated only by the Treaty of Waitangi.
But in fact, of course, there's a whole range of different agreements between Māori, and depending on where you go around the country. So, He Whakaputanga is very important in the north, for example.
But for Te Arawa around Rotorua, we have what's known as the Fenton Agreements, which form an important part of their relationship with the Crown. And in Te Urewera, you have agreements between Tuhoe and the Crown in the late 19th century which then led on to legislation and become an important part of framing that relationship as well.
And now, of course, we have Treaty settlements in different parts of the country, which are all about the relationships and the constitutional relationships between Māori and the Crown, and also informed by things like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well.
So that second point that I want to leave you with, then, is that even if we think about the Treaty as providing the really central framework of partnership, I think we can better understand what that means in the range of particular circumstances if we look at these other dimensions and these other facets of the Māori-Crown relationship. So that we understand that the relationship between Māori and the Crown doesn't begin and end with the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi on the 6th of February in 1840.
OK. And with that I'm going to hand over to Morgan Godfery to give some thoughts on He Whakaputanga.
Morgan Godfery: Kia ora tatou katoa. Now that the experts have given us the historical facts, I think I got the easy job — because I get to speculate.
And the place I'm going to start is last week, where something unusual happened — a sitting prime minister acknowledged He Whakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence, as a living part of this country's history.
Speaking last week at the upper marae at Waitangi, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern told the audience that she hopes her child will live in a country where the history of the Treaty and the history of He Whakaputanga are not distant events in an interesting but irrelevant time; instead, she wants her child to grow up in a country where our earliest constitutional documents are part of a living history, part of a history that is present for you and I and for future generations.
You know, it was a lovely sentiment. And it was a prime minister doing what she does best — talking to us. But as some have pointed out on social media, the Prime Minister did not go as far as she otherwise might have.
Yes, she said He Whakaputanga is historically significant; but she did not say that it was constitutionally significant. She did not take that further step.
I'm a little bit sympathetic to that criticism — if you can call it criticism — but I also think it's only half the story. The other half is the context rather than just the content. On the marae, speech-making is more than mere rhetoric, and it's more than mere rhetoric because it's always remembered.
And Jacinda herself invited the marae and the country to remember what she said that day, and in a year's time and two year’s time and three year’s time. She invited them, she invited us to hold her to account for what she said about He Whakaputanga.
So, in other words, if in three years’ time He Whakaputanga is no more a part of this country's national life than it is today, then we can call the Prime Minister on it. She may not have committed to a concrete act, but she did commit to that accountability.
And I think that matters. And I think what she said about living in a country where the history of He Whakaputanga is present, matters in another sense as well.
Because in our unwritten constitution, when a Prime Minister speaks about what matters within that constitution in this case, He Whakaputanga alongside the Treaty when a Prime Minister acknowledges that, that itself is probably constitutional.
The courts don't have the final say in our political constitution. Instead what makes up our constitution the Declaration, the Treaty, and more is a matter of consensus; it's up to us.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say about that is He Whakaputanga is part of the constitution if we make the argument for it. And people are making the argument. The Rt Hon Jacinda Arden’s decision to include that reference to He Whakaputanga in her formal speech and her informal speeches in Northland last week, was taken on the advice, I have on good authority from her northern ministers.
So, of the current ministry, nearly one-third are Māori, and of that third, one-half are from Nga Puhi. So that's Peni Henare – Rt Hon Jacinda Arden’s advisor on all things Māori; Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters; Labour Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis and New Zealand First Minister Shane Jones.
So that ministry, then, is perhaps closer to our constitutional history, at least in a very personal sense, than any other ministry in the past. So those northern ministers know how important He Whakaputanga is in the living history of the north, and so they encouraged Rt Hon Jacinda Arden to speak to it.
But I think the really important point here is it's easy to get up and think that this is the beginning of a top-down change. But what Jacinda (R Hon Jacinda Arden) and those northern ministers were responding to was something that's been happening from the ground up for a long time anyway.
As Rt Hon Jacinda Arden was acknowledging He Whakaputanga at the upper marae, only less than a kilometre away, near the lower marae at Waitangi, activists and scholars and members of the public were learning and debating He Whakaputanga at what they call the political tent, something they have done for decades.
I think in our national life, we often think of at least those of us who know about it. We often think of He Whakaputanga as the Treaty's poor cousin, the runner-up, the Bill English of constitutional documents. Sorry about that. Low blow.
But He Whakaputanga has been with us for a long time, obviously, with the iwi of the north, with scholars and with activists who, even in the 1970s, used to say the Treaty was a fraud and this country's authentic constitutional document was He Whakaputanga.
Those were the days before Tino Rangatiratanga flags, and instead, on marches, you would see the red, white and blue of the United Tribes flag, which Claudia mentioned earlier. One of the forerunners to He Whakaputanga.
I guess this is the thing about the Declaration in our national life, it's always been with us, but only just below that level of public consciousness.
Awareness of it comes and goes, but it remains waiting for another generation to make of it what they will, to learn about it, to debate and perhaps to elevate it.
In Ngati Awa, where I'm from, He Whakaputanga is still sometimes looked at instead of the Treaty, despite, actually Rangatira from Ngati Awa signing the Treaty.
And for those of you who have driven through places like Te Teko or Whakatane or even Ruatoki, Taneatua, Ruatahuna, Waiohau, you will sometimes see those United Tribes flags flown alongside the Tuhoe Mana Motuhake flag.
But returning back to Rt Hon Jacinda Arden and her speech, what I think her speech signals isn't necessarily an elevation. I think what it does signal is this new generation trying to define He Whakaputanga in the national story.
As Carwyn alluded to He Whakaputanga alongside the Treaty, not above it but yet not subordinate to it either. In her speech, she mentioned the Treaty and He Whakaputanga in partnership.
In the political tent at Waitangi, the two documents are usually debated in partnership. If you go on the marae, the two documents are sometimes debated in partnership, in dialogue with each other.
And I think as people from Nga Puhi take a greater role in public life, thinking about those northern ministers mentioned earlier, as they take a greater role in public life), so too does the history that they bring with them. And I think that's really important.
What they bring with them is this history that He Whakaputanga is not an alternative, necessarily, to the Treaty, as some people said in the 1970s, or wanted it to be, and nor is it a simple nullity, to borrow a phrase used against the Treaty; instead, it's part of our living political and constitutional history. But in the end, it's up to people like us to make it so.
Kia ora tatou.
Dr Carwyn Jones: Thank you, Morgan, for those comments. And Claudia, for yours earlier as well.
We've got some time now for a few questions, and the first up I'd like to come to Claudia.
We've heard Morgan talk a little bit about He Whakaputanga and its role in our national story. Now, you're someone who's done a lot of work on thinking about our national story and promoting our national story and information about it.
I was just wondering whether you had any reflections on the way that Morgan has characterised the role of He Whakaputanga there.
Dame Claudia Orange: Well, actually, to be honest, at this stage I'm not 100% sure. I think this is where it would be quite fun to toss it back and forth, for the audience to think about it, and maybe tying it up a little bit tighter to the Treaty, to help us all understand it a little more.
One of the key factors in the approach that Britain made to New Zealand was to secure and negate, or nullify that agreement of sovereignty, that had been made in 1835 to 1839. And if you understand it in that sense, Hobson himself counted 26 out of the 40 or so signatures at Waitangi were independence signatures. He was after those.
He felt so confident that night, the night of the 6th of February, that he was able to report, 'This is what I've done, I feel pretty confident I've got sovereignty.'
He was kind of racing, beating the gun a bit. But if you look again at the debates and the discussion at Waitangi, it's absolutely clear that there are two intentions going on, two people, two groups, two players with different intentions.
But there's Hobson trying to fulfil his instructions to carefully explain and to get a free agreement, which in a sense he did, but only with the proviso that there would be some sort of shared authority.
Yes, he presented, of course, that the British government would set up a civil government, a kāwanatanga, which would help control the Europeans. And then when you look at the Treaty, the Māori Treaty, not the English Treaty, you can see from the actual words that Māori are guaranteed tino rangatiratanga.
And if you look at what you've got on your seat, you can see that it was the word used for 'independence' in 1835. It's not surprising that in a lot of the discussions that were well reported in our documents, government documents say that Māori have said it differently times in the 50 or so meetings on the Treaty.
We can't really understand that this is really changing much, it's still what we've got. And that's why you get some great quotes from Nopera Panakareao at Kaitaia, who had really tried to get at this sovereignty business.
What do you mean by sovereignty? And the missionaries there said, look, it's just a shadow of the land; it's not the substance. There's two intentions going on with the players in the Treaty field.
There's also, I think, two intentions going on with the 1835 declaration too. But the continuity we have to think about is that agreement to some shared authority in the country and that authority coming from the land here, which is a different kind of authority from the British legal authority that came with Hobson.
This is why I think it's kind of like a book, to sort of round up some of the issues that I started to touch on and then moved away. I hope that's the case. We can elucidate a bit more with questions as we go on.
Dr Carwyn Jones: I think there are a number of really important things that you've touched on there. I think the idea that we have the agreement that comes from the Treaty with these two different perspectives. What Māori was talking about was the role of the Crown would be to regulate settlers, the Pakeha population and their rangatiratanga, as they'd set out in He Whakaputanga, was to guarantee it and protect it.
And I think that also brings up what I think is an important point about the difference between a declaration and a treaty. Because although there might have been two different intentions with the declaration.
With Busby, he might have had lots of ideas about what he wanted. But a declaration is really a unilateral statement. It's really about the rangatira saying, ‘here's a statement of our autonomy and our authority’.
The Treaty, of course, is different, because those two different perspectives are about two parties, or more parties, coming to an agreement.
Morgan Godfery: I like to think, when thinking about two different spheres of power, you mentioned Moana Jackson; that's how he puts it — kawanatanga and tino rangatiratanga. I really like to think about those two as kawanatanga is derivative; it's been carved out of tino rangatiratanga.
What they were affirming in 1835, you could argue then simply reaffirming with the Treaty that power of tino rangatiratanga, but this time saying, ‘Let's carve out kawanatanga for new settlers,' for the Crown, Queen Victoria, tauiwi, whoever it is.
I quite like looking at it that way, as a sort of reaffirmation rather than something completely new or something completely divorced.
Dame Claudia Orange: I actually think that's really interesting. And in fact, what, probably, people don't realise is that after 1840, it was really only a paper sovereignty.
I think Jamie Belich calls it that, and certainly that's the way I've always seen it too. Because basically, life went on for most Māori the way it had for a long time. And it's only gradually that the difficulty of civil government being gradually established — and let's face it, Hobson didn't have much in the way of resources.
And it's only as civil government gradually starts creeping across the land that it impacts on Māori. And that, of course, is in relationship to the guarantee of protection of land, immediately.
And it's only really as the powers shift from the governor to the settler government in the 1850’s, 1854 on, and the evening of population numbers by 1860, that you start to get huge conflict with the two different treaty’s that we're talking about, and the two different intentions and the two different understandings.
Dr Carwyn Jones: And one of the other things you touched on the fact that Busby had all these ideas. And Morgan, in your comments, you talked about the idea of He Whakaputanga being something that was relevant outside of the north.
Now, I'm kind of interested in thinking about where you see He Whakaputanga coming from. Is it something that's from Busby? Is it a Nga Puhi thing? Is it something that's relevant to Aotearoa as a whole?
Morgan Godfery: That's a hard one. From what I know, it didn't seem to be relevant to the rest the country, or at least Māori, until the 1970’s, where there was that movement to sort of claim and redefine this document as an alternative to the Treaty.
It didn't appear to feature in a lot of Māori communities before that outside the north, as far as I know. I think that seems to be the moment where it was put to that not first political use, but perhaps the first political use in the late 20th century. I think that seems to have been the moment, rather than some sort of continuity from the 19th century.
So, it's quite a hard one to say. But of course, you'll go into some communities , like I mentioned Ngati Awa communities, who still, if you ask them, they'll claim it, despite having very little influence over it, having not even signed it.
Dame Claudia Orange: Well, if you think about it, though, in going back to the early period, then I think it's more comprehensible. Because Busby was actually a pretty well-educated guy. And I've been researching him in the last year, for Waitangi and for the Treaty House, and I realised that he was aware that British authority, in many parts of the world, as I think Carwyn has touched on, was very variable.
And he, for example knew of the various states to the north of India where British authority really was only perhaps one person, and that generally, whatever the peoples of that area used in forms of authority and structures kept on existing, and there may be just one person — a Brit, of course, who could oversee this.
And I think that's what he thought, in terms of He Whakaputanga in 1835, that it could be useful, in the final sense, anyway, if Britain did decide to do anything about New Zealand and try to make a treaty, then there would be a body that he could make a treaty with, and that was the confederation.
So, I mean, it's got a very interesting understanding. And I hadn't realised how important this was, he called the Treaty the ‘Magna Carta’. And I think that's something that maybe somebody here will ask about later, because that again, is a shared kind of sovereignty that I hadn't fully even understood myself until, really, last year.
Dr Carwyn Jones: So, I think one of the things that I just wanted to pick up on, was you talked about the importance of coming together in a body that Busby could deal with. And one of the things that people often talk about He Whakaputanga as being a kind of important development is this idea of the people of the north operating collectively between the different hapu and iwi in the north there. And as you say, we get the term 'he whakaminenga' to describe that collective, and that gets referred to explicitly when we come to Te Tiriti o Waitangi again.
I know there's some debate around whether that was actually a change or not. I know Nga Puhi gave evidence at the tribunal, for example, saying, we were already starting to collectivise, in response largely to Pakeha settlement. So, do you think that is a change that can be put down to He Whakaputanga, or is that exacerbated by it?
Dame Claudia Orange: I'm happy just very quickly to answer that, because one of the things I found is that the north had been talking about it for several decades, I realise, and then before Hobson came in 1839, he got this message from Waimate North, actually, that one of the missionaries there said, ‘I think you'd better know, Busby, there are big meetings up here’. They're getting worried about sovereignty — their sovereignty — and what's going to happen in New Zealand, and we think we should elect a king, but we can't make up our minds who it should be.
And they put forward a name, Hakiro, and Busby found that this wasn't really going to work very easily because there were so many independent hapu that the chief of the Waitangi area said, 'Well, actually, it should be me.' And Waikato, the man from the outer bay who brought a lot of the early trade into the bay felt it should be him. And then what about Kawiti?
They realised it was going to be very difficult. Busby said, ‘I don't think it would be very diplomatic if I did anything about this, because I know someone is coming. I know a consul is coming’. So, it's interesting that there is a history there of earlier period in the Bay of Islands.
And it may well be that elsewhere in the country, I think, as more research is done, other iwi are going to find that there are ways that Māori had to judge how to handle the changes that were happening in the country in some areas, especially on the coast, so dramatically, actually.
There may be other stories. And certainly, what you've said, how others have started to think about that too. And maybe it explains too why they've said, 'Look to Nga Puhi, the problem's yours. Do something about the Treaty.' And that was traditionally, really over a century., that's what many of the other iwi said.
You brought the canoes on shore, the Pakeha canoes, now what are we gonna do? Our relationship with the Crown is not a good one.
Morgan Godfrey: Picking up on the collectivisation point about perhaps Nga Puhi doing it first, if we can use that term. As Claudia explains, it's probably because the stakes were higher for them, and they were much closer to the rest of the world than iwi in other parts of the country.
And when you look at Ngati Awa again, to use that example, we didn't collectivise until the stakes were also high for us. And to borrow a phrase from your book, the Crown came to assert its substantive sovereignty.
That's when Ngati Awa collectivises. It's Ngati Awa at Whakatane where the war originally began, over James Fulloon and his death. But then there was Ngati Awa on the Rangitaiki Plains, where the Crown forces actually invaded. They never got to Whakatane.
So, I think those moments were when collectivisation sort of became a necessity. And perhaps without those same historical facts, it might not have happened in the same way.
Dr Carwyn Jones: I think that's a really good point, because I think we can look at actually that move towards collectivising in the face of risk or threat as being something which has always been part of Māori social organisation.
And if you look at Angela Ballara's work, she says, 'Well, actually, hapu were very fluid and would break apart, come together, confederate as iwi for different purposes and different needs.'
So perhaps He Whakaputanga can be seen as part of that kind of tradition as the other examples that you've talked about, and the kingitanga too, of course. Dame Claudia mentions: Kingitanga, yes, that's true.
Dr Carwyn Jones: So, you've mentioned a few of the people, a few of the rangatira who signed, and I just wondered, because I think it's important to get a sense of actually, in understanding the importance of the He Whakaputanga, of who was signing. Did you want to mention any others or talk about the kinds of people that we had collected there?
Dame Claudia Orange: I think it's useful to have a look at the book and something that I've put on your seat. In the sense that Busby already knew the key people in the north before he came to New Zealand.
I discovered he had a list that somebody had given him in Sydney. And this is what he really went to get their support for the independence of the country against other foreigners, especially France, actually, which they were really worried about.
I think some of the people we knew pretty well. I think in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, we had done quite a lot of biographies on Māori, and in Te reo also. But one of the really wonderful things about this exhibition and the book is that Jared Davidson, one of the archivists in the National Archives, and also the lady who is also here, Stef, the other curator, had done a lot of work with me on identifying those signatures in 1835 and on the Treaty; in other words, creating a big database of information.
We're not talking about people who are inexperienced; we're actually talking about someone like Kawiti, who in 1816 had been to Sydney, had a good look around, stayed there for a while, came back and then told the others that he didn't really think much of it, largely because of the violence.
And he felt it was disgusting that somebody would be hung for pinching a piece of pork. You know, it was very interesting that you had, sort of, quirks of a Māori making comments on penal colony behaviour.
It’s also just the toing and froing. Someone like Waka Nene Patuone, who was largely based at Waiheke Island in Auckland, who'd gone north to sign; a brother of Waka Nene from the Hokianga, these were men who'd gone back and forth to Sydney several times.
I think I found somewhere that the Sydney harbour master's crew was Māori. At one stage they had a house in Sydney where Māori could stay. But very much earlier than that, you get Te Pahi.
The Te Pahi Medal has just come to light recently at an auction in Sydney, and it's now at Te Papa. And you can see it there, it was where the early chief, Te Pahi, had actually stayed at Government House in Sydney for quite a while.
Marsden and the whole missionary relationship, which we haven't really touched on, it important it's connection with the north had been very important, and of course, the way it expanded round the country, and also the assistance, both in London, New Zealand and Sydney, with the development of Te Reo as a written language too.
So, you know, it's all these threads kind of have to come together with our history, and it takes time. And I think, for many of us, we're at different stages of understanding. And one of the interesting things in digitisation.
The only reason why we could say so much about the chiefs is because with digitisation and archives, Jared could go through massive files, just look at different things. We also found over 50 images of those who'd both signed the Treaty and also, sometimes, signed the Declaration.
It kind of puts a face to who we're talking about. It's absolutely marvellous. We've put them in the book, so you can have a look. Not all of them, but they're there.
Dr Carwyn Jones: Yeah, and if you do look at the names of the people who signed it, the names you're mentioning there — Kawiti, Tamati Waka Nene, you mentioned Te Wherowhero and Hapuku earlier, Patuone — these are all really big names in the north, and it really does demonstrate that this was a collection of really important people there. And as you mentioned in your earlier comments, I think, when we came to signing Te Tiriti o Waitangi, that Hobson and the British government saw it as really important to try and make sure that they got the signatures from those people who had signed. And they didn't get all of them, of course.
Dame Claudia Orange: They didn't get to Wherowhero. They tried twice, and he wouldn't do it. But then he'd only just signed the Declaration of Independence, and he might have been just simply puzzled about it.
Dr Carwyn Jones: So, thinking still about the north and Nga Puhi but coming forward in time, I don't know whether you have any comments, Morgan, about the process that Nga Puhi are working through now, particularly in terms of their Treaty claims and settlement processes.
Do you think He Whakaputanga speaks to the way, still, Nga Puhi understand autonomy and authority in the north, and do you think that's playing a role in the dynamics that are there?
Morgan Godfery: I think so. As you mentioned, the Waitangi Tribunal has looked at it as part of the claim. And I think it's essential not just for Nga Puhi but for the country to understand what those rangatira thought when they were signing the Treaty itself. So, I think it's essential.
And we saw it last week at Waitangi with Rt Hon Jacinda Arden's comments; we see it in the political tent; we see it on the marches where people still have their United Tribes flags.
So, I think it's still relevant. And it's a hard one because is it up to Nga Puhi to actually define how it's relevant in the 21st century? Which is a difficult question, because we've had the Tribunal look at it; they've come back; Nga Puhi seems to agree with most of what the Tribunal came out with.
So where do we go from there? Do Nga Puhi take the lead or is it something for Māori to claim, or indeed the country to claim? It's quite a difficult question, and I think it's one that needs to be answered if we're actually going to take it forward.
Dr Carwyn Jones: And I just also wanted to pick up on, in that context, in terms of thinking about where we're heading, when you talked earlier about He Whakaputanga being in partnership with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, so what does that look like?
Morgan Godfery: That's a good one. I think what I meant by that is we can't understand what the rangatira were doing with the Treaty without looking to the Declaration as well. So, the British Crown wasn't bestowing tino rangatiratanga, and nor were the rangatira there necessarily creating this tino rangatiratanga as something which was completely new.
Rather, I think a lot of them would have seen themselves as simply reaffirming what they'd done five years earlier with the Declaration. I think it's essential when we look at it today that we're not thinking of tino rangatiratanga as something that Māori just created out of nowhere.
In fact, it was something that they had been exercising for, what, 800 years beforehand. So I think that's why it's essential to see those two — in partnership.
Dr Carwyn Jones: Just thinking about that rangatiratanga concept and the idea that it has a longer history, one of the things that some people will say is that the idea of tino rangatiratanga, which we see coming through in the Treaty, is a more recent development at that time. Some of the evidence that I saw in the Waitangi Tribunal from Pat Hohepa, who's a linguist from Nga Puhi, was that they started using that tino rangatiratanga because they could see that the missionaries and Hobson and Busby were leaders and chiefs of a kind, were rangatira, but they were different kinds of chiefs, different kinds of leaders.
They weren't embedded in a kinship network and community in the way that they were. And so they start using rangatira to mean the kind of professional leadership that Hobson and the missionaries are, and start using tino rangatiratanga to describe their own autonomy and authority that's embedded there.
I just found that interesting when I first came across that. Now, Claudia, you've talked a little bit about the effect of digitisation, making information about He Whakaputanga more accessible.
But for a document that we see as part of a He Tohu exhibition, one of the central documents of our nation's story, why is it that people don't know so much about it?
Dame Claudia Orange: Well, I think they don't know so much about it because one of those clauses in He Whakaputanga was what Busby had hoped to bring the whole group of northern chiefs together again as a confederation, where they could debate and discuss what to do with strangers / foreigners coming in, what to do about land sales, the pressures, younger chiefs starting to put up land for sale, which senior chiefs didn't want. Even then, this is before 1840 and I think Busby's disappointment was that it was very difficult to bring them together, and it erupted in fighting anyway, once again because there are other things going on.
It erupted in fighting in 1837 between two key chiefs, in the Bay. Again, I think it was over trade at Russell, Kororareka. You know, who had the dominant right for trade? It was 1837. Hobson had been sent in across from Sydney to see what was going on and see if he could help. He offered to help settle it, and they told him to get away, that they could settle it themselves, that there was tension that would settle itself. And he put in a report, as a result of that.
They didn't meet. That was the difficulty. They got wood for a parliament house, and it lay unused. And I suspect Busby finally might have used it to build another couple of bedrooms on his house.
Because he had had to pay for the land and had to build a little two-bedroom house. What you actually see, those of you who've been to Waitangi, and what you see on television, is now about eight rooms. It wasn't like that in 1840. It was just a two-bedroom house with a central hall.
So, coming back to He Whakaputanga however, there wasn't a parliament house built; they didn't come together as a group. And the pressures increased.
And so again, in the documentation last year, I found people like Waka Nene and Patuone and other chiefs actually coming and sitting down with Busby, often on an evening, and getting asked to dinner, where one accidentally took mustard with the pork and had to get helped out of the room because it was so hot!
They were talking about the problems of the changes going on, and particularly in the north. They were actually happening in other parts of the country too, but what we've got such a good record of is of the north and the difficulty of this. And again, just finding out that Māori had been meeting again in 1838 and 1839, saying, 'What are we to do?' You know, the pressures were increasing.
We can't necessarily control things; we need help. It's interesting. But that wasn't necessarily going to mean that they decreased their authority, that would be guaranteed. 'Confirmed' is the other word. It's rather nice.
Dr Carwyn Jones: We have this agreement in He Whakaputanga that they're going to meet as a congress to collectively pass laws, but that never actually happens, and then we have the Treaty following hard on the heels of He Whakaputanga.
Some of the evidence from Nga Puhi I saw in the Tribunal, which I thought was interesting, was people saying, actually, we did meet; we just didn't meet with Busby in the form, in a Parliament that he was expecting. Of course, we were talking to each other and that moved to collectivism and collective responses that you've talked about. I think we might move from this discussion up here to open it up now to questions from the audience.
Richard Foy: Wow. That was just an amazing hour and a half of discourse and korero around He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti. I find it very humbling because although I'm kaitiaki for these documents, I know so little, and so it's a real blessing to be able to spend time with experts.
And it just reminds me that He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti and the Women's Suffrage Petition, they're not merely just parts of telling New Zealand's story of the past, but they're actually vital protagonists of New Zealand's story of our future.
So, with that, I'd just like to thank Carwyn Jones and Dame Claudia and Morgan for just providing a fantastic evening for us. So, everyone put your hands together. Thank you very much, everyone. You're welcome to leave;
I've got to go. wipe down the cabinets.
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