Right On: Feb 7 – 13


In 1987 I left New Zealand.

Returning in 1992 two new things struck me: Japanese imports and The Treaty of Waitangi.

Asked at a petrol station if my borrowed car was a Japanese import, I drew a blank. Apparently it was. Once alerted, I started seeing cheap imports everywhere.

Next, a friend asked what I knew about the treaty principles. The what? The Treaty of Waitangi principles she replied.

If you apply for a job in the public service you’ll need to know what they are. I’d worked in the public service in the late 1970s and never heard the treaty referred to. Again, once alerted to this new phenomena, it was everywhere.

The idea of paying lip service to some politically-correct prerequisite to employment didn’t appeal.
Fortunately I got work in the private sector which, to this day, doesn’t seem to find use for an historical document written over 170 years ago.

People in the real world, the one that turns on productivity and profitability, don’t have  time for theoretical niceties about partnership, let alone the privileged place of tangata whenua in Aoteoroa.
Only the public service, turning on tax-payers money, can afford these indulgences. Yet that arena is the very place where long-winded powhiri, prayers and the like should not occur.

Despite this country’s commitment to the separation of Church and State, two sets of rules have emerged.
So for me the Treaty of Waitangi is a divisive document. At best it’s an irrelevancy; at worst it’s created resentment amongst both Pakeha and Maori. New Zealanders should be one people with equal rights; not two peoples sitting at either end of a constantly rocking see-saw alternately gaining-losing, gaining-losing…

We need to resolve past wrongs and move on in unity. The idea the Treaty of Waitangi should act as some new-fangled constitution is crazy.


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1 Comment

  1. Roger Strong says:

    I have noticed this quite a lot in recent years. Returning New Zealanders absolutely stunned by the sudden(to them!) recognition of the Treaty. It’s almost impossible to work in local government (I have two sons working there)without believing in the Treaty-or at least making a good act about doing so. When I talk to them about it you get a strange reaction-on the one hand they know its all rubbish but on the other hand they have paid lip service to it for so long that they half believe it. You have to remember that both main political parties -and many of the minor parties- have never taken this issue to the public and have completely ignored what they know the vast majority of the public really want. Our education system(of which I was a part for 37 years) actively promotes the whole sham and the result in our society is more and more division. What can we do? Who will stand for a change?


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