Race Relations – lets have a chat

waitangi

Photo credit to Fairfax Media

On the 6th of February 1840 a treaty was signed between Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson (on behalf of Queen Victoria) and 40 Maori Chiefs (500 Chiefs signed by the end of the year). This treaty  was  ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’ – The Treaty of Waitangi.

It is New Zealand’s founding document and was meant to be a partnership between Māori and the British Crown. Although intended to create unity, different understandings of the treaty, and breaches of it, have caused conflict.

However, from the 1970s the general public gradually came to know more about the treaty, and efforts to honour the treaty and its principles expanded.While February the 6th is  celebrated as a National holiday it has always been a day of protest as well. A day where Maori can voice their frustrations and concerns over the Treaty and I love that.

Clearly in NZ we still have inequalities, clearly Maori sit on the wrong side of most social statistics – so it is good to be reminded of this. There is still work to do in NZ, so we can honour the principles of the Treaty.

  • The Kawanatanga Principle – The Principle of Government
  • The Rangatiratanga Principle – The Principle of Self Management
  • The Principle of Equality
  • The Principle of Cooperation
  • The Principle of Redress

This year the voice of protest was strong which affected traditional celebrations. Should we be worried about this? No!

This year has brought another opportunity for better dialogue between Maori, between Pakeha (NZ Europeans) and between each other to move the spirit of the Treaty forward.

I  adore the feature photograph of this post. To me it sums up the future of race relations in NZ. 175 years ago the Maori Warrior and the lad (perhaps a missionaries or soldiers son) may have been enemies. But here they are on a beautiful sunny day in February having a chat.It could be the lad is asking the warrior about his Moku (tattoo’s) or his Taiahi (his spear). It could be also that the Warrior is asking the lad about his knowledge of Waitangi or even telling him a beautiful Maori legend

But best of all, I like to think that these two are actually related. I think these days most Kiwi families have at least small blend of Maori and Pakeha – surely this is the best race relations can get and is the true lasting spirit of the Treaty!

Kia Ora Roly