Sunday, October 29, 2006

Part III: Signing the Treaty of Waitangi

This is Part III of what I learned at a two day Maori training at a real marae from a real Maori...see previous posts for background.

The British Empire sent a man by the name of Hobson to wheel and deal with the Maori. In six days he had the treaty signed. Hobson relied on two missionaries to translate the treaty. Obviously, the Maori who weren't getting any obvious benefit declined to sign the first draft presented.

"The meeting ended indecisively and the Maori withdrew to the other side fo the Waitangi River to debate throught the night. They sought the advice of the missionary who told them that it would be in their best interests to sign the Treaty. The missionaries had some influence because Christianity had given the Maori a choice of religion. At the time the Maori world was exclusively dominated by tapu (a state of sanction/sacredness) and noa (common state of being).Some say it was because of the wicked cool robes the priest got to wear.

Anyway, the Treaty had a very important clause that the missionary had inserted after these discussions guaranteeing Maori possession of their lands, forests, fisheries and other prized possessions. The missionary believed that without this promise, the chiefs would not support the Treaty.

40 Chiefs signed the english version and more than 500 chiefs signed the Maori language version. The Treaty differs betweeen the Maori and the Enlish version, which will be the subject of the next post. I'm really not sure how many more posts there will be. My Maori training differs somewhat from what is on Wikipedia so I'll just keep posting what I learned.

Part IV: Content of the Treaty of Waitangi

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