Thursday, October 19, 2006

Part II: Te Ao Maori, New Zealand Declaration of Independence

Since I work for a crown entity (the government) everybody is sent to a Maori Bi-Culture training. I was really looking forward to it. The training was at a local Marae (Maori lodge). Very Cool! The workshop focused on the Treaty of Waitangi, the Resource Management Act 1991, consultation (or participation) and Teo Ao Maori (A Maori Worldview). The Marae (lodge) where we were staying had a good relationship with Transit, via a freeway in their backyard, though not quite clear how that worked out, but is a good indication of the importance of the relationship with the Maori.

Let's start from the beginning in 1935 Aotearoa (New Zealand) had 120,000 residents living in tribal areas (rohe). Each rohe consisted of a number of iwi (tribes), hapu (villages) and whanau (families). Each iwi had their own systems and processes of belief, religion deities, government, justice, co-operation and sharing. There were some 500 iwi (tribes) at this time.

At this time Aotearoa was frequented by a number of European colonies settling on the coasts whaling and sealing. This is when the British and French rat race started. Similiar to the US, the Brits won by having 34 tribal leaders sign a Declaration of Independence. Who knew, the US isn't the only colony with a Declaration of Independence, they read very similiarly. At this time the declaration also unified the tribes, established a flag, and thus ships could trade with Australia.

After the declaration came the Treaty of Waitangi, which trumps the declaration and is the subject of the next post. Woohoo! Can't wait!

Part III: Treaty of Waitangi

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