This will be the last post on my website. It represents the culmination of years of thinking around what constitutes justice or redress in the aftermath of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi for Māori people in Aotearoa New Zealand. I argue that the Waitangi Tribunal, which is tasked with preparing claimants to go to direct negotiations with the Crown, prefers large group or tribal claims to the detriment of smaller individual claims. This is not justice. Instead, it is nothing more than paying lip service to accepted historical narratives of tribal grievance without thorough examination of the implications of this for treading on small or individual claims. As I see it, there is too much reliance on romanticist idealism of Māori people as shaped fundamentally by collective interests. My problem with this is that it utterly disregards the substantive role of leaders, of the chiefly line, who had the unenviable burden of engaging with a deceitful, and dishonest Crown to defend their lands from alienation. In accordance with custom the chiefly line held land in their own right (as individual title) that was separate and distinct from customary lands. A consequence of this, for redress, is that this need not be attended to since their descendants are deemed privileged in terms of having succeeded to land. They did not of course because what little there was, or is, has all but been taken by Council bodies on the justification of the greater good. An example of which in reference to my people was for the purpose of a community reserve. Justice is only for those who do not have any land. This could not be further from reality. Not only did the chiefly line allocate land to their people they were also especially vulnerable to pressure from the Crown to sell by virtue of the fact that they held title. If they resisted, the Crown would simply declare the land ‘Crown’ and proclaim it accordingly. There was always the easy option, too, of targeting a desperate individual prepared to falsely claim ownership, in order to sell, for the Crown to resort to. Such oversight or truth-telling are not particularly welcome because they serve to disrupt the preferred narrative of Māori interest to land being collective only.
Being a rather large file, I have opted to upload in three separate files starting with part 1: Feint of Feather Part 1