With the dawning of 2021, the approach of Waitangi day, and the wero (challenge) of 2020 fresh in my mind, I wondered what 2021 would hold. As I reflected, I remembered this letter that Maria Tibble penned to kaiako in her 2018 blog. For me, the blog is not only a reminder of the innate resilience of iwi Māori in times of incredible difficulty but also how these powerful histories are repeated in localised ways.The way kaiako and kura chose to retell local histories through marau ā-kura is a powerful tool to add meaning, significance and contemporary relevance for ākonga. In her letter Maria reminds kaiako that we have the opportunity to teach and learn how Te Tiriti o Waitangi may have shaped and still shapes the identity of ākonga and their whānau, hapū, and iwi.
Maria challenges kaiako to not just share about the generic Tiriti o Waitangi story but to dig into the local stories and intergenerational impact on iwi, whānau and how it plays out for their ākonga. There are many stories of breaches, loss and trauma and equally as many stories of fortitude, strength, determination in the face of adversity. How these histories are shared matters.
She implores kaiako to:
- tell the Tiriti story of where they locally reside
- tell these story to heal
- tell these story to unleash greatness
Maria reminds us that, “as the leader of learning in the class, you determine the stories that will be heard, the voices that will be listened to, and the careful selection of resources that will be viewed. These will all have a huge influence on how students view themselves as Māori, as iwi, as Treaty partners, and as tangata whenua of Aotearoa.”
– Nichole Gully, Kairangi Ngaio Māori and Kaihautū Māori, February 2021
I encourage you to localise the Treaty of Waitangi to where you currently reside so the day has even more meaning for the Māori students in your class and adds real contemporary texts for all students.
As Waitangi Day approaches and the media hype is sensationalised by the latest prejudices, divided opinions, and historic events of past Treaty of Waitangi protestations, I ask that you spare a thought for the student in your class who is Māori, whose descent claims an ancestry that reaches back to the beginning of time. To this student whose character continues to be shaped and influenced by the impact of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 to 2018, 178 years later.
As a teacher, you have the opportunity to teach and LEARN how the Treaty of Waitangi may have shaped the identity of students’ whānau, their hapū, their iwi. You could extend an invitation to local people to talk about the Treaty story of their iwi and how this important partnership document has impacted and continues to affect their rights as hapū/iwi to this day. Here lies an opportunity to privilege cultural knowledge and perhaps learn about hapū and iwi approaches to maintaining their customary rights and sovereignty over their lands, water rights, and fisheries.
As the leader of learning in the class, you determine the stories that will be heard, the voices that will be listened to, and the careful selection of resources that will be viewed. These will all have a huge influence on how students view themselves as Māori, as iwi, as Treaty partners, and as tangata whenua of Aotearoa.
My mokopuna has ancestral descent lines from Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Te Rangi, Tūhoe, Te Whānau a Apanui, and Tainui. The Treaty of Waitangi has had a huge impact on each of these iwi and Treaty stories may echo similar themes, but the experiences are raw, distinctive, and unique to each tribal area.They cannot be hybridised to the Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi story, but rather, the Treaty and its impact on the iwi of Te Arawa. The Tūhoe story of the Treaty. Do not be seduced to thinking that the story ends there, as these may be individualised further to hapū or sub tribes within this iwi grouping. Not one story is the same, nor the approach as you will see in the Ngāti Porou example.
Te Arawa’s involvement with the Treaty of Waitangi
In 1840, Thomas Chapman, a well known missionary for the Church Missionary Society (CMS), was asked to seek signatures for the Treaty of Waitangi in the Rotorua and Taupō districts. The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on the 6th February 1840. It established a British Governor in New Zealand. It recognised Māori ownership of their lands and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. It subsequently opened the door to colonisation, which had a devastating impact on tribes all over Aotearoa, including Te Arawa.
Te Arawa did not sign the Treaty in 1840, as they were confident they did not need the protection of the Queen. However, they agreed to its terms in 1860 with a group of Te Arawa leaders signing a covenant in Kohimarama, Auckland, recognising the Treaty as a binding document of partnership with the Crown. Why? Because they had suffered the negative effects of colonisation. Sadly, signing the covenant would prove meaningless as Claudia Orange comments:
The Kohimarama resolution was similar to a formal ratification of the treaty. The government promised to hold further conferences to discuss sharing power, but no more were held. The chiefs who attended the conference expected to play a greater part in decision-making, but they were to be disappointed.
In 2009, Prime Minister John Key formally apologised to Te Arawa for historical Treaty breaches against Te Arawa. “The Crown profoundly regrets and unreservedly apologises for the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles.” Historical Treaty breaches noted in the Crown Apology included the Crown’s aggressive purchasing techniques for land opened to Pākehā settlement in the central North Island. Te Arawa suffered losses, in the main, through consolidation schemes and public works takings. The Crown officially handed over to Te Arawa $85 million in cash and assets that year.
Eru George commented then,
“It marks a conclusion in a process that has spanned generations of our tupuna [ancestors] who committed their lives to righting the wrongs and seeking resolutions for injustices on our people.”
Two important points I’d like to make here. First, George’s comment, “spanning generations of our tūpuna”. At what cost were the negotiations to families, hapū, and iwi? How were they able to fight the might of the Crown with limited resources? What drove them to continue the struggle that spanned generations? What stories of resilience, of struggle, of protest, of courage come from these times and the deeds of the ancestors of these mokopuna?
The wording of the “Crown’s aggressive purchasing techniques for land” is interesting as well. Of the hapū and iwi whose lands were seized, illegally taken or stolen, what impacts were suffered on the lives of Te Arawa people? What price in land and economic loss did Te Arawa pay for British citizenship? The effects are still felt today and are a part of our history as Te Arawa. If you were to ask, what the Treaty means to me, previously my answer would have been the legalised theft of our land and the economic decline of our tribe. Now, it is about the future and how Treaty settlements can contribute to the economic prosperity of our tribe. However the colonial residue of land loss is still an unforgotten and very real mamae (hurt).
As part of the healing process, in 2005, Te Arawa were able to express the suffering they had endured to Crown Ministers during the “Telling the Story” hui (George, 2005). This enabled Te Arawa to tell their stories of grievance, of suffering, of hurts that have had intergenerational impact. Do these stories have a place in the telling of the story of the Treaty of Waitangi in your class if you live in the tribal boundaries of Te Arawa, in Rotorua?
Moving in to 2018, however, what might the current Treaty story say? My telling would not only involve the retelling of this history and disruptive influence of colonisation but also the exciting future that lies ahead for our mokopuna. What does a Te Arawa mokopuna future look like? How have Te Arawa used Treaty settlement money so Te Arawa can thrive and prosper?
Let’s look at one example, the Ngāti Whakaue Assets Trust. Ngāti Whakaue is a sub tribe of Te Arawa. “Iwi Asset Trust doubles its asset base in 10 years to 18.3 million” — NZ Herald
In 2009 the trust was given a 9.2 million Kaingaroa Forest settlement fund to invest for the collective benefit of Ngāti Whakaue. Thanks to “astute and strategic investment plays”, Ms Paul confirmed the asset base had since doubled and was on track to surpass $20m by 2020.
In 2016, the Trust distributed $707,975 in grants to Whakaue marae and supported various community events like Whakaue Whakanuia, which is an amazing one-day celebration of what makes a person “quintessentially Whakaue”. It is a day where Ngāti Whakaue marae congregate, including Te Papaiōuru, Tumahaurangi, Te Kuirau, and Waikuta who perform a series of items reinforcing tribal whakapapa and waiata. It is a day that privileges Whakaue tikanga and reo.
What iwi stories will you invite into the classroom?
What stories will you tell my moko, or the mokopuna who sits in your class in the lead up to Waitangi Day whether you are at the top of the North Island or the bottom of the South Island? Are you aware of the Treaty of Waitangi claims local iwi have made to the Waitangi Tribunal? (a commission of inquiry, that inquires into claims brought by Māori relating to Crown actions that breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi)?
The Foreshore and Seabed controversy, which concerns the ownership of the country’s foreshore and seabed, has many iwi claiming they have a rightful claim to the title under the Treaty of Waitangi. In November 2004, New Zealand Parliament passed a law deeming the title to be held by the Crown — in other words, public ownership. This law, the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, was enacted on 24 November 2004. Some sections of the Act came into force on 17 January 2005. Widespread protest arose. Māori anger at this legislation resulted in the formation of the Māori Party. The Act was repealed and replaced by the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. If you return to the purpose of the Treaty of Waitangi and what was signed in 1840 and 1860, iwi do have rightful claims, and honouring the partnership agreement made 178 years ago still has an enduring impact to this day.
Let’s return to my mokopuna and her whakapapa.
Ngā Puhi — If you are from the North, could your Waitangi unit be about the recent Northland Inquiry or Wai 1040 which is examining Ngā Puhi’s 600 plus Treaty claims? Some of the stories uncovered in the hearings talk of the confiscation of land for unpaid rates. Families who were trying to maintain ahi kā (keep the home fires burning) on their land were forced to give up land to pay rates arrears. An example of aggressive land purchasing techniques?
Ngāti Porou — The Takutai Moana ratification process for the iwi is huge. In October 2008 Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed of Agreement was ratified and signed by 48 hapū and the Crown at Parliament. However, the repeal and replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, with the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 has provided the basis for these hapū and the Crown to negotiate a range of improvements to the Deed. At Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou Annual General Meeting held 25 November 2017, 47 hapū had ratified amendments to the 2008 Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed of Agreement and 8 groups had yet to decide (slide 9). The work that goes in to ensuring each hapū has the opportunity to engage with their iwi organisation and have a voice in exercising their rights as mana whenua is significant. 47 hapū having a voice in the running of their iwi affairs and a unified approach to negotiating with the Crown is no mean feat. Legislation for the iwi is a major priority in 2018 and ensuring partnerships with the Crown are honoured.
Whāia ko te mātauranga hai whitiki te iwi, kia toa ai.
Seek ye from the fountain of knowledge so the people may be uplifted, thrive, and prosper.
– Kepa Ehau (Esteemed Te Arawa orator)
Te Marau ā-Kura kia Tina!
Visit our dedicated page for more resources with strong connections to marau ā-kura.
Philip Andrews. External links and sources for ‘Chapman, Anne Maria’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1990, updated November, 2001. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1c13/chapman-anne-maria/sources (accessed 23 January 2018)Pumautanga News. Retrieved from Pumautanga Newsletter. http://tpota.org.nz/resources/PumautangaKorero/TP_Korero%20Oct%202009.pdf (accessed January 2018)
Rotorua Public Library Te Whare o te Matauranga. Retrieved from Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi http://www.rotorualibrary.govt.nz/maori/TeTiritioWaitangi/Pages/default.aspx (accessed 23 January 2018)
Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved from Te Arawa face greatest challenge” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503438&objectid=10983683 (accessed 23 January 2018)
Claudia Orange, ‘Treaty of Waitangi’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/treaty-of-waitangi/print (accessed 23 January 2018). Story by Claudia Orange, published 20 Jun 2012
Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved from “Iwi Asset Trust doubles its asset base in 10 years to 18.3 million” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503434&objectid=11938803
Whakaue Whakanuia. Retrieved from http://www.maoritelevision.com/tv/shows/nga-pari-karangaranga/S08E009/ngati-whakaue-whakanuia-series-8-episode-9
Legislative violations of the Treaty of Waitangi 1840-1990 the first 150 years
Retrieved from http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~sai/Tr_violn.html
Waitangi Tribunal – Te Rōpu Whakamana i te Tiriti o Waitangi – https://www.waitangitribunal.govt.nz/claims-process/
New Zealand foreshore and seabed controversy. (2017, September 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:35, January 23, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=New_Zealand_foreshore_and_seabed_controversy&oldid=802067148
Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou Annual General Meeting. Retrieved from http://www.ngatiporou.com/sites/default/files/uploads/20171123%202017%20AGM%20slides%20consolidated.pdf Accessed January 24th 2018.