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“Push is coming to shove”: Treaty debate getting darker, warns Trotter

Summarised by Centrist

Chris Trotter argues that the recent release of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Northland Report will worsen tensions between Māori and the Crown. 

The Treaty of Waitangi, initially interpreted as an agreement in which Māori voluntarily ceded sovereignty to the British Crown, has now become a fiercely contested ideological battleground, hindering efforts to find common ground. 

This reinterpretation, driven by proponents of “decolonisation,” necessitates depicting Māori chiefs as unaware of the treaty’s implications, a perspective that reputable historians find problematic. 

Trotter also raises concerns about the impartiality of the Tribunal’s reports, which tend to focus on historical grievances. This one-sided approach risks oversimplifying history and portraying Māori as passive victims, undermining their historical agency and dignity.

“Questions relating to who wields sovereignty in New Zealand – including Northland – are fast acquiring the sort of weight and momentum that drives people irresistibly towards the conclusion that push is coming to shove,” says Trotter. 

Read more over at Democracy Project

Feature image: ““The Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi”, Ōriwa Haddon” by Archives New Zealand is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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