Friday 5 February 2010

UNITYblog Waitangi Day discussion

Waitangi Day is supposed to celebrate the founding of the nation-state of New Zealand, but whereas Independence Day in the US (and many other former colonies) celebrates the end of colonial rule, Waitangi Day celebrates its beginning. Because the promises made to Maori in the Treaty have not been honoured, and because the Treaty marks the formal beginning not of a partnership between Maori and the Crown, but of the dispossession of Maori by the Crown, Waitangi Day has often been a day of protest. For me Waitangi Day will always be day to celebrate and reflect on Maori resistance to colonisation and the on-going struggle for tino rangatiratanga. With this in mind, UNITYblog asked a number of tino rangatiratanga activists to give their views on these two (or four) questions:
1) After almost three decades of Treaty of Waitangi settlements, of “biculturalism” and “partnership” between Maori and the Crown, Maori remain at the bottom of all social statistics, such as income, employment and life expectancy. Why is this? And what can be done about it? 2) A huge amount of land stolen from Maori is now in private hands, but Treaty settlements only involve Crown land. Despite this, both National and Labour MPs have condemned the on-going occupation of privately owned land by members of Ngati Kahu in Taipa, Northland. What are your views on this protest? Should privately owned land be part of Treaty settlements?
We’ll be posting responses from Saturday morning. If you’d like to contribute something to this discussion, you can either add a comment to this article, to the posts from other people, or email a contribution to the editor.
David UNITYblog editor

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