Kia ora koutou
Ko ngā mihi ki a koutou i roto i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā o te raumati.
I hope everyone has had a restful and enjoyable break as you now return to school or work. The recent Waitangi Day celebrations on 6 February provided all of us with the opportunity to reflect upon our collective history and how our modern nation of Aotearoa/New Zealand came about. Te Tiriti was signed in a number of places around the country and on a number of “sheets”. One of those sheets was the Cook Strait sheet which was taken around by Henry Williams (the original translator of the Treaty) It is likely there were a number of rangatira who affiliated to Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō who signed the Treaty. There were signings of the Treaty at Rangitoto (D’Urville) Island on 11 May 1840 and Totaranui Queen Charlotte Sound on 4-5 May 1840.
The Treaty remains a significant event for the birth of our modern nation and maintains a rightful place in our proud history. The fact it was developed and signed in a period when our ancestors were experiencing some of the biggest turmoil our country has ever known is remarkable. That turmoil included great shifts of populations and iwi around the country through warfare as well as the influx of greater numbers of immigrant Pakehā. It really was a period of instability which eventually settled down towards the end of the 1800’s. Many have argued for recognition of the Declaration of Independence but the Treaty of Waitangi has continued to endure as our founding constitutional document. The wording of the Treaty might be difficult given it has two texts in two different languages. (It should be noted that the vast majority of chiefs signed the Māori version). It may also be hard to constantly apply the Treaty in a modern, complex world in a democratic, modern state. But remember - its three articles gave us three P’s: Protection, Participation and Partnership. Pretty good principles for a modern democracy by any definition.
In 1847 Henry Williams prophetically stated to Bishop Selwyn that the Treaty of Waitangi is the Magna Carta of New Zealand. I think he got it pretty much right.
I hope you all had a happy Waitangi Day.