Te Tiriti – The Treaty of Waitangi

The purpose of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed on the 6th February 1840, was to bring New Zealand under British Governorship, while respecting current Māori land use (I say land use because Māori culture is against the ownership and trade of land). Additionally Māori would become British subjects, and gain the appropriate rights.

The major players involved in the formation of the Treaty of Waitangi were:
Royal Navy officer Captain William Hobson, Hobson’s secretary James Freeman, and British Resident James Busby. These three found themselves responsible for writing the Treaty, and had to do so without a draft document prepared by lawyers or Colonial Office officials.
The fourth major player was Henry Williams who, with the help of his son (Edward Marsh Williams), translated the Treaty of Waitangi into Māori.

The first declaration, written by James Busby, was signed on the 28th October 1835 at Waitangi by himself and 35 Māori chiefs from the North Island. It was written, following a plea from thirteen far north Rangatira (major chiefs) to King William IV, to ask for assistance in guarding their land.

The Treaty of Waitangi Act (1975) is what caused the Treaty of Waitangi to be recognised as New Zealand law. It also established the Waitangi Tribunal which was tasked with the investigation of potential violations by either the New Zealand government or any state controlled body, with regards to the Treaty of Waitangi.

As an IT consultant within a large New Zealand Government organisation, I would need to (where appropriate) take Māori rights and values into account. Potentially communicating with Māori directly to insure that any potential breaches to the Treaty are dealt with before they are made.

A team leader within a New Zealand government department, managing a large group of people (including some Māori), needs to take into account these three things for acting within the Treaty of Waitangi’s framework:
Participation, Protection and Partnership.
Participation means that all Māori involved must be giving opportunities and rights equal to those of non-Māori working in the same area.
Protection relates to Māori culture and values; the team leader must see to it that their department is a safe multi-cultural environment.
Partnership is the department working alongside relevant iwi (Māori “people” or “tribe”) in order to (among other, department specific, things) uphold the requirements from the Treaty.

By Frank Schulz – 23/05/2020

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