By Roger Childs
45 people packed the Kapiti Uniting Church Meeting Room on Tuesday evening to hear Andy speak about the detail of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi and the claim he made to the Waitangi Tribunal. He spelled out the facts that the only valid treaty is the one signed on 6 February 1840 and that the Tribunal incorrectly uses the bogus 1840 Freeman Treaty which did not have official approval at the time.
Freeman had changed the wording from the original and added flourishes of his own.
(Reference my WW article on the Treaty of Waitangi)
Andy made a number of other key points.
- The Treaty applied to all the people of New Zealand — both native peoples and settlers.
- The chiefs and tribes did cede sovereignty to Queen Victoria but were able to retain full possession of their lands, dwellings and property.
- Maori were not specifically named as a group in the Treaty as the word with a capital M only came later in the 1840s.
- Maori was used as an adjective with a small m, meaning normal, ordinary when referring to people.
- There is no such thing as “race”, however the Tribunal will only accept claims from a member “of the Maori race”.
The claim to the Tribunal
Andy outlined his long battle with the Tribunal to get his claim accepted. They were very slow in replying, but he wasn’t about to give up. However he ran into the brick wall of having to be a member of the Maori race.
He pointed out that he had a Maori wife and son, was knowledgeable on Maori history, had been brought up with Maori in Cannons Creek amongst many things, but the Tribunal wanted details of his whakapapa and wouldn’t define what being a Maori meant.
It was probably a case of not being able to give a definition as the concept of race doesn’t exist. As Andy said: How did a people who came from Taiwan, via Papua New Guinea and the Pacific become a race?
Not surprisingly Andy’s talk generated a wide range of questions and there was a lively discussion which clearly indicated that people generally agreed with his argument and evidence.
As one member of the audience observed:
He echoed my thoughts exactly when he said history is important as long as it is told truthfully and based on established facts, however the concentration and focus should be on our future, not past grievances.
Andy’s talk is encapsulated in the following YouTube video