Orange (2015) considers this as the foundation document of New Zealand. The representatives of the Treaty of Waitangi, which are Maori iwi tribe, hapu sub-tribe and Crown government entered into the agreement for the purpose of developing the land and its economy. The treaty was first signed on the sixth of February 1840 in the Bay of Island, which is the reason the treaty got its name. Many confuses it as a drafted constitution. However, the treaty is was actually a set of principles for dealing with the pressing new circumstances arriving in New Zealand in the respected time. This was a political compact or covenant between the British officials and Maori to for a government in New Zealand. There are considerable misunderstanding among many regarding the statements made in the treaty and the authority proposed. This is due to the problematic translation of the treaty. Crown version of the treaty narrates that the Maori people had transferred the sovereignty of New Zealand to the British government, whereas, the Maori version authorized the British governor over the settlers alone. This mistranslation was foundation stone for the many upcoming issues related to the power and authority. This led the Maori to face various level of discrimination, which led to the war for sovereignty.
The treaty was signed by more than 500 rangatira of Maori people in several parts of the country. These people signed the Te Tiriti o Waitangi version of the treaty. Whereas, 39 rangatira in Waikato and Manukau along with the representatives of British Crown signed the Crown’s English version (Orange, 2015).
The treaty came into action due to the increasing foreign population in the lands of New Zealand, outnumbering the aboriginal Maori population. Moreover, the increasing exploitation of the resources by the foreign invaders was also a reason for the Maori people to come for a more diplomatic solution in the time of 1840s.
There are two versions signed for the Treaty of Waitangi, one in Maori language and one in English. The one in Maori language is popular as ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’ and the English one is known as Crown’s English language version (Orange, 2015).
Reason of signing the treaty:
- The aboriginals signed the treaty with the Queen Victoria fro maintaining peace and order in the country.
- To increase the international trade.
- For inclusive future, based on cooperation, mutual support, and reciprocity between the alliances.
According to the Article one of Te Tiriti Waitangi, hapu and rangatira agreed fro the Queen’s governor-exercising kawanatanga, which means the governor will be allowed to be present in the lands. Governor will have no authority over the aboriginals of the land. However, in the Crown’s English language version states for the complete power of the Crown and authority over everything and everybody in the land (Orange, 2015).
In the second article of Te Tiriti o Waitangi contradicts its statement in the first article. It recognises, and upholds the optimum authority of the hapu over all their precious items like lands and villages. Whereas, on the other hand, Crown’s version confirms Maori possession over heir lands and any kind of property they possess.
The three major principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as suggested by the 1988 Royal Commission on the Social Policy are partnership, protection, and participation. The partnership principle narrates the procedures for working together with iwi, hapu, whanau, and Maori communities that are the aboriginals of New Zealand. The alliance according to the principle will work for developing strategies for the development of the communities. Whereas, the protection principle as narrated by the 1988 Royal Commission highlights the facilitation role of the government (nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz, 2017). It accepts the diversity, supports relevant service development, and encourages independence. However, the anticipation of the Maori signatories to the Treaty holds Crown responsible for actively safeguard the interests of the Maori people. The last suggested principle by 1988 Royal Commission of Social Policies holds government liable for supporting the initiatives, which will increase or facilitates Maori involvement across all the industries.
The Treaty of Waitangi has its importance in many ways in today’s workplace as it ensures the right of Maori and Pakeha in the workplace by governing the relationship between indigenous people, Maori, and everyone else (Wheen & Hayward, 2012). Some of them are mentioned below.
- The treaty ensures the reasonability and good faith of the government towards the Maori people.
- The treaty promotes equality within the boundaries of New Zealand. It helps establishing the equality law in the country to treat every individuals in New Zealand equally.
- Lastly, the treaty holds government of New Zealand responsible for helping to address grievances.
zcurriculum.tki.org.nz (2017). Treaty of Waitangi Principles Retrieved 7 December 2017, from https://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-resources/NZC-Updates/Issue-16-January-2012/Treaty-principles-Partnership
Orange, C. (2015). An illustrated history of the Treaty of Waitangi. Bridget Williams Books.
Orange, C. (2015). The treaty of Waitangi. Bridget Williams Books.
Wheen, N. R., & Hayward, J. (Eds.). (2012). Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Bridget Williams Books.