Willingness to listen and gain understanding on the Treaty of Waitangi:
Tēnā koutou katoa (Greetings/ hello to you all)
Today is Waitangi Day; the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Representatives of the British crown and over 500 Māori chiefs signed this founding document. Māori signed for many reasons. They thought the British settlement would bring mutual benefits, but actually Māori lost a lot. They thought their land would be protected, but instead much land was stolen by colonisers, for little recompense. Some chiefs signed because they had a relationship with Britain and Queen Victoria. Some chiefs believed they would be protected from tribal violence and British trading scoundrels.
Did you know that the English and Māori versions of the Treaty are not the same? 500 Māori chiefs signed the Māori version, which was translated from the English version. Once translated, the words used had different meanings. In signing, Māori believed that the British would “govern” but there would be some Māori control. But the British Crown was actually talking “sovereignty.” Only 39 chiefs signed the English version.
In 1840 the Māori population was around 100,000 and the British settler population 2,000. In just 10 years the British settlers equalled the Māori population. The founding Māori culture was pretty much railroaded by British culture. By 1896 the Māori population had decreased to 42,000. The introduction of the British musket meant that tribal wars accelerated the death rate, and the British brought in diseases that Māori could not fight.
Celebrations happen across Aotearoa every year as we commemorate the coming together of the peoples of NZ in a Treaty partnership. Sadly the Treaty has not always been upheld by NZ Governments over the past 180 years since the signing.
This morning Kirsty will be bringing us more insight into the Treaty of Waitangi as we continue in the Book of James. Whatever your views on the Treaty of Waitangi, we must always be willing to listen and gain a fuller understanding.
Ka kite anō (See you again)