One law for all day

Rather than doing my own detailed Waitangi Day post, I’ll recommend Peter Cresswell’s post, as he has written it far better than I could (bar his proposal of a new constitution, which I believe is unnecessary).

If you really want to know what Waitangi Day is about, read the treaty. Too many people go on about racist concepts they have invented, ignoring that the Treaty actually says:

In return for the cession of the Sovreignty to the Queen, the people of New Zealand shall be protected by the Queen of England and the rights and privileges of British subjects will be granted to them.

The Maori version is even more explicit

Hei wakaritenga mai hoki tenei mo te wakaaetanga ki te Kawanatanga o te Kuini-Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata Maori; katoa o Nu Tirani ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani.

Literally: This is an arrangement for the consent to the Government of the Queen. The Queen of England will protect all the Maoris of New Zealand. All the rights will be given to them the same as her doings to the people of England.

The treaty established one law for all. That is what we should be remembering and celebrating today, the end of tribal warfare and slavery, and the institution of equal rights for all – the legal framework that has given us the country we enjoy today.

EDIT: See also my post on flying a Maori flag on Waitangi day

5 Responses to “One law for all day”

  1. John Key attacked at Waitangi « Samuel Dennis Says:

    […] Posts John Key attacked at WaitangiMaori Flag on Waitangi dayLet’s eat some dogsOne law for all dayMaori cannibalismMaori history in school far from realityCyclone activity and climate changeCare […]

  2. Paul from Canterbury Atheists Blog Says:

    I totally agree with you Sam, we shouldn’t grant special privileges to any sector of New Zealand society ( I have Maori heritage so I’m including everyone here in an even-handed fashion)

    For once we agree!

    ALL forms of privilege based-on ones ethnicity or religious beliefs should be scrapped.

    Good one mate.


  3. Mr Dennis Says:

    For once we agree!
    It was bound to happen sometime! 🙂

  4. nandor Says:

    You neatly sidestep the real problem at the heart of the treaty debate. The English version ceded sovereignty, as you state. But very few people signed it. The bulk of signatures (including Hobson’s) went onto the Maori language version, which doesn’t cede sovereignty. It gives Governance of some kind (Kawanatanga) to the Crown but recognises and protects ‘tino rangatiratanga” – essential chieftanship – of hapu over their own people and their resources. It clearly envisaged that Maori would govern themselves within their communities. What is meant by Kawanatanga is I think still contested.

    So yes Maori would get all the rights of British citizenship, but they would be self determining in their communities. Maori have consistently claimed this right since it was first violated by the Crown.

  5. Mr Dennis Says:

    Yes, there are certainly some issues with the language, as I understand there was no possible direct translation of “sovereignty” into Maori. I am not dismissing this issue as there may certainly have been differing views on exactly how the land would be governed. It was clear that the Queen would be in ultimate authority, whatever this was called.

    My point is however that the essential note the treaty finishes on is that there would be one law for all. This was clearly understood by the treaty signers, for example Te Ahukaramu, of Ngatitoa, who stated at the signing:
    “First, God; second, the Queen; third, the Governor. Let there be one Queen for us. Make known to us all the laws, that we may all dwell under one law.”

    We have the rest of the year to bicker about the details, Waitangi Day should be a celebration of unity.

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