Local Heart, Global Soul

June 2, 2012

A Treaty Ahead of It’s Time… But Still With Complications…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are two places here at Waitangi that I distinctly remember from the trip I made here as a teenager.

The flagpole is one of them and the Treaty House is the other.  I’m not of  Maori decent but in my opinion I consider all people born in New Zealand to be equal New Zealanders no matter what cultural liniage they have behind them.

We are one people and one nation and I believe that’s how things should be.

My personal opinion is that Nationhood in New Zealand evolved more over a series of  historical events rather than on any specific day but this place is one that has special significance because it is where one of these first events took place.

For once in the British Empire proposed an  official Treaty be made between native peoples and  white settlers that attempted to represent a more fair and balanced partnership than had ever taken place before or since.

I’m not saying it’s perfect, far from it… but it shows a level of understanding that was far ahead of it’s time considering the time in which it was written.

What helped this come to pass is the several pivotal people were involved in the making of the Treaty, one was Reverend Henry Williams who not only joined other missionaries who settled in the Bay of Islands but also was culturally open to learning the Maori language , and how the Maori community worked on a practical level and he advised James Busby who helped write the Treaty along with James Freeman.

The fact that Maori ways were mostly respected was also unusual for this time, and since Williams had a hand in the treaty as the translator, the finished document no doubt had his subtle influence embedded in it to a certain degree.

Some of the origonal text includes:

All dealings with the Aborigines for their Lands must be conducted on the same principles of sincerity, justice, and good faith as must govern your transactions with them for the recognition of Her Majesty’s Sovereignty in the Islands. 

Nor is this all. They must not be permitted to enter into any Contracts in which they might be ignorant and unintentional authors of injuries to themselves.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You will not, for example, purchase from them any Territory the retention of which by them would be essential, or highly conducive, to their own comfort, safety or subsistence.

The acquisition of Land by the Crown for the future Settlement of British Subjects must be confined to such Districts as the Natives can alienate without distress or serious inconvenience to themselves.

To secure the observance of this rule will be one of the first duties of their official protector.

The main point of contention with regards to the Treaty comes from several major  errors, the biggest of course being that the Maori translation does not fully or in some part even partially match the English text, so the two parties naturally had a very different understanding of the agreement they were signing.

Some argue this happened only because the Maori translation was rushed (it was handed to Williams at 4.00 p.m. on the 4th of February to be translated and presented for signatures the next day on the 5th), some  argue it was intentionally misleading.

It was also come to  light that there are multiple drafts of the Treaty in existence, with additions and omissions as it took shape. James Stuart Freeman was responsible for much of this and it’s possible that the “certification of translation” that Williams wrote on the translation that was presented for signatures may actually have pertained to one of the draft documents and not the final version.

The website: http://www.treatyofwaitangi.net.nz/CertifiedTreaty.html tells us:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 There is a major problem with the general conclusion adhered to by establishment historians, as ‘A comparison of all five English versions with the Maori text makes it clear that the Maori text was not a translation of any one of these English versions’. Williams had used some other, now missing, final draft, handed to him on the 4th of February 1840 and with it had achieved ‘as Literal a translation of the Treaty of Waitangi as the idiom of Language will admit of’.

It’s unfortunate that Freeman did not have the foresight to write the qualifying statement: “I certify that the above is as Literal a translation of the Treaty of Waitangi as the idiom of Language will admit of” on either this handwritten Maori text sheet by Williams or onto the three printed Maori copies despatched on the 21st of February, rather than at the bottom of his own “Royal Style” English copy. In that age of innocence, no one could predict the machinations of a “grievance industry” 140-years into the future (see Volume G-30/1, pp. 25-27, National Archives of New Zealand, Wellington).

Some land settlements had by all accounts (of both parties) been fairly and amicably transacted but in some instances descendants of these people disagreed with the transaction in principle and wished to contest them, sometimes a century later, naturally leading to contention of sour grapes and allegations of greed  towards the Maori involved.

Other land transactions have been clearly been mishandled right from the beginning and I read somewhere years ago that (in East Cape I think)  there is one on-going unresolved case that’s been backwards and forwards before the courts for over 100  years … in this instance I think that the Maori involved have a clear case of injustice and the whole thing should be resolved in their favour since they have raised clear objections from the moment the “deal” was imposed on them.

Within Maoridom and within New Zealand today there are of course a few agitators who opinions are intolerant from one extreme to another but most New Zealanders I know (and the rest I hope) believe that we are all equal as  “Kiwi’s” and that we should stand and fall together for each other as a nation.

Waitangi represents  for me the place where people with great cultural differences at least tried to come together peacefully with good intentions.  In practice it’s far from perfect but considering human history in general and  the limits and failings of human nature, it could actually have been a document far far worse. It’s also  reminder that even with the best of intentions that when human beings are involved that things invariably get complicated and that the repercussions can be far reaching and contentious as they are still with the Treaty even today.

New Zealand might have had a few isolated Maori/settler skirmishes but avoided all out civil war in great part due to this Treaty so I personally am proud to be  a Kiwi standing here at Waitangi…

I can only hope that the spirit of good intention and forward thinking are a concept and tradition that the country carries on in centuries to come.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 1, 2012

An Entreating Treaty House…

Filed under: HISTORY,Landmarks,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Traditional,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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There was a building at Waitangi at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi… this is now called the Treaty House. Let’s take a look at the outside:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 31, 2012

Requesting a Treaty…

Interestingly the request for a Treaty in New Zealand was instigated not by white (“Pakeha”) settlers but by a contingent of Maori who appealed to the British to help them settle continuous infighting amongst Maori tribes.

For more than a decade Missionaries had been encouraging Maori to set up self governance but there was such disagreement and indeed tribal wars between the Chiefs, that Maori were in grave danger of wiping themselves out before settling their disputes.

The website: http://www.treatyofwaitangi.net.nz/WhyaTreaty.html tells us:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

  After Cook’s three exploratory voyages (commencing) in the 1760’s and the establishment of a British penal colony in Australia, trade and Christianity came to New Zealand.

British, French and American vessels began visiting New Zealand harbours in the late 18th century to refresh and refit.

From the early 1800’s commercial trading started in New Zealand with timber, flax, shore whaling, ship building and general trade with the Maoris and non-Maoris who had established themselves in New Zealand.

By the 1830’s the coast was dotted with trade settlers as well as several missionaries who had also purchased land and set up home.

However, after 1830 purchases of land grew until there were quite large acreages of land owned by non-Maori. By 1839 there were 2000 permanent settlers, 28 onshore fisheries and many commercial ventures in flax, timber and ship building, plus general and domestic trade by non-Maori.

Until 1832 the British or Imperial Government was reluctant to intervene in New Zealand, but as more and more settlers arrived and trade and investments expanded, the British Government felt responsible for her people and their investments as well as the Maori. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

They did pass three acts in 1817, 1823 and 1828 in an attempt to bring law and order, but as New Zealand was outside the British Dominion, these were unsuccessful. In 1820, after Hongi had slaughtered many thousands of the Thames Maoris, they requested that Britain afford them protection.

By the early 1830’s trade between New Zealand had become so intense that there could be up to 30 ships at anchor and 1000 seamen on shore at any one time but still no law to control them or the Maori.

The 1828 Act did empower the courts to deal with crimes by British subjects but these had to be heard in Sydney and therefore it was difficult to get all parties together at the same time.

While British interests and investments continued to increase and become predominant at the time, French and American activity was also on the increase. This worried the British as they were beginning to build up large capital investments in New Zealand but with no protection if  New Zealand were to be annexed by another nation. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many events sparked off Maori appeals to Britain for protection. The first in 1831 when it was rumoured that the French naval vessel La Favourite intended to annex New Zealand to France in retaliation for the killing of Marion du Fresne and his crew.

The Maoris even discussed a letter to the King  but decided on placing a British flag on the mission flagstaff, reasoning that if the French tore it down, the missionaries would appeal to Britain for protection.

After this 13 powerful northern chiefs sent a letter to the King asking him to become their friend, guardian and protector of these islands.

Captain William Hobson was charged with the mission of instigating a Treaty in New Zealand and after a lengthy consultation with Governor George Gipps in Australia, he arrived in New Zealand aboard HMS Herald on the 29th of February 1840, fully briefed on what the Treaty must say.

On the 5th and 6th of February 1840 he  landed at the place now known as Hobson’s Beach (first photo)  and walked up to the Treaty grounds to negotiate the Treaty of Waitangi with the Maori Chiefs. There were more than 500 Maori present and this flagpole designates the spot where they met for the formal negotiations.

It’s also the spot where from 1934 New Zealanders hold the official Waitangi Day ceremonies.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 30, 2012

A Little Wander Around Waitangi…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are following our retroactive tour of  New Zealand made in December 2010 – January 2012.

At this point of the trip it’s early in the New Year and we are at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, in Northland.

We’ve just left the massive  “waka” or  canoe and are slowly making our way around the grounds.

Himself, my friend and our combined group of children got so far ahead of me that they’ve had time to have a paddle in the sea as well as a good run around.

I’ve been taking my time, stopping to rest and plodding along carefully on my crutches.  This set of photos takes us past various parts of the Waitangi Grounds… some very important bits are coming up, but they get their own post.

We are heading towards the grass-topped knoll that I could see earlier on the peninsular when I zoomed in with the camera (from our picnic lunch spot on the beach at Paihia a few posts back). Paihia is across the bay at the extreme far right in the background of  the first photo, and the beach we were on is probably just fractionally out of shot, about another centimetre to the right. There’s another Maori Meeting House here at Waitangi too and I would have liked to have gone over and had a look inside but it was some distance away and I was getting rather  tired so decided to pass that one up. It’s excellent to get out and about but I’ve got to recognise my physical limits and know when enough is enough.

Little Mr gets disproportionately excited (as only six year old boys can) when a helicopter passes by so that photo is for especially for him and any other “plane spotters” amongst my readers (although I assume that adult plane spotters don’t emit very loud high pitched squeals when they spot helicopters LOL).  There is the possibility to walk in a large loop that would take us back to the Information Centre at the entrance but  after seeing the next two things  just around the corner  (all will be revealed soonest!) I find it’s time to call it quits on the walking, so Himself  sprints back to the car park and retrieves the van to pick us up.  Let’s take a look around this last part of the grounds …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 29, 2012

The Detail of Maori Decoration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post you learned that the “waka” was the Maori word for canoe. As you will know from my Haka post: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/new-390/ and my recent posts of the last weeks on Rotorua,  Maori culture has it’s fair share of rituals when it comes to special events, traditional greetings and in former times, making war.

Many of these are translated into carving and artwork, the spiral shape is often meant to represent to unfolding fronds of a Koru  (fern) and whilst some patterns are inspired by traditions as far as I know, there are no “hard and fast ” rules when it comes to the patterns produced in Maori carving and artwork. It can vary from region to region (although many themes are reoccurring).

The Tā moko however is a different thing entirely.

Tā moko is a type of facial decoration in Maori design that these days resembles a tattoo, even though the early ones were not strictly tattoo’s because they were made with bone chisels before the use of  needles.

The historical methods produced ridges on the skin instead of the smoothed skin pigmentation of the tattoo, but the tattoo method took over eventually because  it left the wearer less prone to infections and was easier to implement.
Even growing up in an area of New Zealand with few Maori around me one thing I knew and understood from a very early age was that the Tā moko was very special.

So special in fact that the wearer needs to be gifted one… it’s definitely not something that you may choose for yourself, there is great spiritual meaning behind it,  a very deep code of honour and  respect that is “given’ with it.

Historically only persons of rank were given Tā moko although simpler ones were given to women upon maturity. Little wonder then, that when fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier used Maori motifs and Tā moko  as part of one of his fashion shows that this was deeply offensive to Maori. Some designs are now considered by some Maori to be used by Non-Maori in tattoos, but opinion on this remains divided.

One small interesting fact is: Maori is the language of the  Polynesian  peoples, the early settlers of New Zealand probably came from Samoa, Society Islands, the southern Cook Islands and the Austral Islands in French Polynesia. The one and only word in the Maori language that is been universally transfused into the English language is the word “tattoo“.

Oh… and finally (yes, I’m known for taking the scenic route LOL)  the topic of this post… the Detail of Maori Decoration on the Waitangi Waka…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 28, 2012

Waka, So Much More than a Canoe…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this part of Kiwidutch’s retrospective journal documenting her New Zealand adventures of December 2011 – January 2012,  we are at Waitangi, one of the most important places in New Zealand’s history.

The first thing I want to take a good look at is “Ngatokimatawhaorua” which is the name  given to this particular  huge  “waka taua” or war canoe.  (“waka” means canoe)

This particular waka is the longest of it’s type and was refurbished  for the 70th Anniversary of the Treaty Of Waitangi  in 2010 (the treaty itself was actually signed 100 years before that, but the commemoration of the day as a national event has only been taking place for the last 70 years or so)

The waka is made from the wood of the New Zealand Kauri tree using traditional building methods and can seat more than 80 paddlers.

It’s an amazing feat of design and apparently one of these boats in the hands of experienced paddlers can make 150- 200 kilometres a day in open sea.

It’s huge, it’s beautiful and it’s majestic. Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 27, 2012

Waitangi… a Place of National Significance…

Filed under: HISTORY,LIFE,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In a continuation of yesterday’s journal post,  we have finished our picnic lunch,  had  a rest  in the shade whilst the kids let off steam running around and now departed Paihia for the short drive to Waitangi.

Waitangi is the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and as such is celebrated as New Zealand’s National Day on 6th February each year.

We start by looking around the Information Centre… and making our way around the site to see some very specific things and places.

This post however focuses on the entrance and the first part of Waitangi’s grounds.

I was last here as a teenager and a lot has been added and updated since then,  including the Information Centre itself, and and this very funky walkway that  leads us in under a welcome cool canopy of native trees…  The shade is very nice and much appreciated today since the temperatures today are still climbing steadily. Himself, my friend and the six kids race ahead exploring and I take my time at the rear, stopping for photos and little rests. Let’s take a look around the entrance to Waitangi…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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