We are about to get a taste of the new Government’s approach to Treaty negotiations, and it looks like this National-led Government is going to be as generous in doling out taxpayers’ money for imagined slights as the last National-led Government .
The Ngati Toa deal is instructive. Only in modern New Zealand would copyright protection for an unpublished chant extend back nearly two-hundred years (as long, at least, as you have the right skin colour), and taxpayers’ money and an apology given to the descendants of a stone killer for the treatment of said killer.
Ngati Toa are about to be given buckets full of taxpayers’ cash to apologise for things those taxpayers haven’t done, along with an apology for the “kidnapping and detention of 18 months” of Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha – the “kidnapping and detention” of whom was the consequence of his having tortured, slaughtered and murdered in cold blood from Waikato to Taranaki to the Horowhenua to Kapiti to the Cook Strait to Wairau to Kaikoura to Kaiapoi to Akaroa.
He went everywhere, man, and a trail of corpses was left behind him – and the bucketfuls of cash now promised are paying for what those corpses bought him.
Te Rauparaha’s Akaroa slaughter gives you the character of this “warrior” still so revered by the tribe*. The argument with the Banks Peninsula Maori began when Te Rauparaha exhumed and ate the decomposing body of their chieftain’s grandmother, which must have tasted grand after being dead for several months, and concluded with a carefully planned torture and slaughter of the chieftain and his family and the sacking of his pa – after which he headed home carrying “500 baskets of human flesh … destined for cannibal feasts at Te Rauparaha’s settlement on Kapiti island,”* a settlement he had stripped from the inhabitants only a few years earlier after an earlier slaughter, and on which he maintained slaves “scraping flax” to be traded for arms and ammunition for further conquests.
It should be no surprise that Te Rauparaha was an enthusiast for the Treaty – he reasoned that after his two-decade reign of terror he could use the Treaty and the protection of naive British governance to “confirm his dominion” over his recent conquests – all of which had been seized in two decades of war before the Treaty was signed, and many of which he had conquered only in order to onsell to New Zealand Company agents (who, to their disgrace, were the knowing beneficiaries of his blood lust).
Little did he know how successful his ruse would be, or for how long. His blood-soaked “dominions” are being paid for still, just as this murderer had hoped, since for the most part it is those very lands he obtained by bloodshed for which his descendants are today being rewarded with our largesse.
Such is modern justice in New Zealand.