Tuesday 6 February 2024

My Waitangi piece is # 2 at Newsroom.


I'm happy to say that Part One of my abridged review of Ned Fletcher's book became the second-most popular piece yesterday at the Newsroom site.

Check that out here: Ned's 'Slippery' Treaty. Some snippets:

**"Fletcher’s will quickly become the favoured mainstream interpretation of the Treaty. But this doesn’t mean it’s correct."
**" It was in Chapter 19 that I began making notations under the heading “Slippery.” 
**" Pumuka, chief of the Roroa Tribe, says: 'I wish to have two fathers – thou and Busby, and the missionaries.' From the latter two he and his colleagues have already learned 'Christianity and the Law'…It’s this that these smart fellows, eager for modern learning, are asking for more of. For the protection of law, not for a bag of sweets and a paternalistic pat on the head. 
**"Fletcher has his work cut out for him in making words seem what they’re not. He admits himself on page 526, as he nears his work’s end, that '[t]he English draft of the Treaty contains no explicit recognition of Maori self-government and custom.' Which is true, but it’s the opposite of the conclusion he has been labouring for the previous 525 pages to prove."

And now, on Waitangi Day, Newsroom has just posted Part Two of the abridged review: Ned's 'Puzzling' Treaty. Let's see if we can get this one to Number One! Some snippets from Part 2:

** "Ned argues the Treaty, the English version, promises eternal self-government to Maori... The entire scaffolding of Fletcher’s argument for separate Māori jurisdiction or law as a permanent thing falls to the ground however when one realises that Stephen, and the Colonial Office, did not intend such a state of affairs to be permanent. They expected continual progress towards their end goal of full equality."

** "In the Treaty’s only written references to protection, it never appears without the word 'rights.'... So what does the written word tell us then about the nature of the protection being offered in the Treaty?"

** "If the Treaty is about 'protection' of Māori, as Fletcher concludes, then as the Preamble makes very plain that was to manifest as 'Protect[ion of] their just Rights and Property.' Which seems vastly different to Fletcher’s conclusion that it must lead to inter-tribal self-government."

** That said, if there is a right to permanent self-government in the Treaty, then it is that of which John Locke spoke: which is the individual right to govern oneself free of let or hindrance by others – this self-governance being the source of all freedom. In libertarian terms, all one requires from a legal authority for this self-governance to function is to be protected in one’s genuine rights, for coercion to be outlawed and to be otherwise left alone by that authority. Thereafter, all human interaction becomes voluntary.
    "Would that this were the meaning one could draw from either Treaty, or Tiriti. Or from today’s lawmakers."
PS: If you'd like the full review of Ned Fletcher's book, The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi, you can download it here.

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