Treaty Of Waitangi Case Study
The quote from the preface to The Treaty of Waitangi Companion: Māori and Pākehā from Tasman to Today provides a fascinating insight into the contemporary conceptions that people have of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The quotation is broad in its content and has so many different facets. I am taking the approach that each of the various aspects speaks to the principal question posed in the quote, and is, is the Treaty of Waitangi a Māori Magna Carta or Mega-Fraud.
The Manga Carta 1215 (1297)
The phrase Māori Magna Carta or Mega-Fraud is an interesting phrase. The Magna Carta is a fundamental constitutional document not only to the United Kingdom but also to New Zealand and many other countries that …show more content…
H. McLintock fought hard to discredit the Treaty of Waitangi claiming it to be "merely a praiseworthy device for assuming and pacifying savages." To which the British Government would have a bar of, and they said, "You will honorably and scrupulously fulfill the conditions of the Treaty of Waitangi."
This viewpoint of Māori being savages seems to be entrenched into people’s thought processes as Prendergast CJ in Wi Parata v Bishop of Wellington (1877) said that Māori were "primitive barbarians" and there unable to sign the Treaty of Waitangi and as such he said the Treaty of Waitangi was a “simple nullity” and had no legal force whatsoever. It is interesting to note that A. H. McLintock refers to Māori as savages in his encyclopedia.
The Treaty of Waitangi is said by many to be the founding document of modern New Zealand, and as such some argue that it should be entrenched into our constitution. New Zealand is unique in that it is one of only a few countries (the United Kingdom and Israel) not to have a written constitution. A written constitution is an essential foundation for any legal system. One does not have to further than the Constitution of the United States of America. The constitution like the Treaty of Waitangi also has many various interpretations, but it is nonetheless and entrenched the