Tag Archives: Treaty of Waitangi

Waitangi Day


Today February 6 is a public holiday in New Zealand – Waitangi Day.  It celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi the nation’s founding document that was signed on this day in 1840.

The document was signed on behalf of Queen Victoria by William Hobson and by various Maori chiefs representing their tribes.  NZ Maoris are tribal and there is not one Maori nation and so the Treaty had to be taken around the country for signing by other Maoris.  The two versions of the Treaty (one in English and one in Maori) are not identical and over time there has been much debate as to what the two sides actually agreed.

The Treaty gives Maoris the rights of British Citizenship and rights to their land.  The English version of the Treaty promises to:

  • protect Māori interests from the encroaching British settlement;
  • provide for British settlement; and
  • establish a government to maintain peace and order.

while the Maori understand it to :

  • secure tribal rangatiratanga (most often defined as chieftainship); and
  • secure Māori land ownership
Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Treaty Grounds, Waitangi

Traditionally celebrations are held at the Treaty House in Waitangi.  Politicians and other leaders are welcomed onto the marae, (a sacred open meeting place) by Maori elders.  Recently there has been a lot of dissension and Waitangi Day has become the focal point for Maori discontent.

However, apart from the Treaty we do have the Waitangi Tribunal where claims by Maori for redress for breaches by the Crown  are made.  The claims and settlements have been a significant feature of race relations since 1975.

Successive Governments have attempted to compensate Maori for the loss of their land and quite large settlements have been awarded.  This too has caused dissension particularly among the Pakeha (the Maori word for those not Maori) and some of the Maori tribes who have not received compensation.

So while February 6 should be a day of rejoicing and celebration, it is regularly marked with protest.  This year the Prime Minister, John Key was ‘drowned out’ by protesters when making his speech.

Our peaceful bi-cultural nation is hurting under the arguments and protests and in the end nobody wins.


This isn’t Kansas Dorothy

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore” so said Dorothy to her little dog, in the Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy and Toto

via Wikipedia

I love The Wizard of Oz and today when thumbing through my ancient and dog-eared copy I came across this phrase.  And while it struck me as being correct geographically, New Zealand is some 7,940 miles/12,780 kms distance from Kansas, there are other similarities and also unsimilarities. differences.

For instance we know that Kansas produces corn, fields and fields of it. So does the Waikato region of New Zealand.  Look at these two photos – how alike are they?

Kansas Corn field

Kansas Corn Field

Waikato NZ Corn Fields

Waikato NZ Corn Fields

And both have major rivers running through them.  What came first the name of the rivers or the areas settled around them?

I know very little about Kansas but would like to share a little NZ history here.  When the land was invaded by the colonizing British a series of armed conflicts  was waged in various parts of the country.   The wars were fought over a number of issues, the most prominent concerning Māori land being sold to the settler population.

There is a Maori King who resides in the area.  He inherited the crown from his mother in 2006.

Maori King

King Tuheitia on the throne at Turangawaewae Marae. Picture / Peter Drury, Reuters

Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand.  The Maori and the pakeha (the non indigenous New Zealanders) live in harmony for the most part.  The Maori are being recompensed for the happenings in the 19th Century when their land was taken and the Waitangi Tribunal is hearing and addressing their claims.

The claims are based on the Treaty of Waitangiwhich is the document signed  by Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson on behalf of the then Queen of England, Victoria, and many of the Maori Chiefs on behalf of the people of New Zealand.  This was a land of clans and there is still argument as to whether the Maori King speaks for all Maori.

But back to the Wizard of Oz.  I have told in an earlier post of how as children we went to the movies on a Friday night.  Of how scared I was of the witch and how much I appreciated my Father’s warm and loving hand in mine whenever she came onto the screen.

Over the past few weeks I have read various blogs either on the subject of The Wizard or else weaving it into the blog.  Monica’s post had this mother wondering about her daughter “For all I know, when my daughter’s at college, she’s walking around in ruby slippers and impersonating Judy Garland.”  Or rather not wondering when she was away at college.

Wizard title page

Original title page circa 1900 via Wikipedia

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” seems to have played a part in many of our lives, whenever and wherever we have lived.  And there are so many morals included in the book.  The tin Man  used to make his living chopping down trees in the forests of Oz, as his father had before him. Because the wicked witch enchanted his axe to prevent him marrying the woman he loved he became a man of tin and really wanted a heart again;  the Scarecrow  reveals that he lacks a brain and desires above all else to have one. In reality, he is only two days old and merely ignorant. Throughout the course of the novel, he demonstrates that he already has the brains he seeks and is later recognized as “the wisest man in all of Oz,”; Cowardly Lion believes that his fear makes him inadequate. He does not understand that courage means acting in the face of fear, which he does frequently.

These  three pictures are all from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia gives a brief outline of scholarly interpretations thus:

“Economics and history professors have published scholarly studies that indicate the images and characters used by Baum and Denslow closely resembled political images that were well known in the 1890s. The Scarecrow, like other characters and elements in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was a common theme found in editorial cartoons of the previous decade. Baum and Denslow, like most writers, used the materials at hand that they knew best. They built a story around them, added Dorothy, and added a series of lessons to the effect that everyone possesses the resources they need (such as brains, a heart and courage) if only they had self-confidence. Although it was a children’s book, of course, Baum noted in the preface that it was a “modernized” fairy tale as well.

Those who interpret The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a political allegory often see the Scarecrow, a central figure, as a reflection of the popular image of the American farmer—although he has been persuaded that he is only a dumb hick, he possesses a strong common sense, remarkable insight and quick-wittedness that needs only to be reinforced by self confidence.”

So we can all either just enjoy this great tale or learn from it – or maybe we can do both.

“You live and learn: at any rate you live”  Robert Cody – Note I think this is the Robert Cody, author and one of the most notable American performers of the Native American flute.

Judith Baxter, EzineArticles.com Platinum Author
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