Session 7: Talking ink
Notes on the Treaty
We were given Page 8 of the Treaty to review. This was written in Te Reo Māori.
None of the signatures on it were signatures resembling names; they’re all a “mark” made by the chief, with “his mark” written after it. There’s a strong implication that none of the chiefs were able to read the text, so had it explained to them and were then asked to put their mark on it. Literacy among Māori was high though, so this is probably cultural bias sneaking into our assessment. The marks made as signatures are more likely to have been culturally significant to the signers, perhaps an element derived from ta moko or other important design elements.
Notes on the document, taken from the website:
James Fedarb, a trader, carried this treaty sheet around the Bay of Plenty on board the schooner Mercury. During May–June 1840 he visited Ōpōtiki, Tōrere, Te Kaha and Whakatāne collecting the signatures of 26 chiefs. Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson’s signature on this sheet is forged.https://teara.govt.nz/en/zoomify/36346/treaty-of-waitangi-sheets-bay-of-plenty
Not sure why the signature would need to be forged.
So, various people took their own sheets around the country.
Interesting that the patriarchy is again raised in this context, as an influence on the relationship. Perhaps if Jewish people had been the first settlers, where being Jewish is passed through the matriarchal line, or people from Iceland, where the names come from you mother if you’re a woman and your father if you’re a man, things might have been seen differently?
Group work on Treaty comic
Q: What did He Whakaputanga-The Declaration of Independence provide for Māori?
In theory, Māori got friendship and protection towards the British settlers and traders.
Q: When we consider both Te Tiriti and The Treaty, what are the different understandings held by peoples about what these two artefacts stand for? Name more than one.
As an example, sovereignty may well have had no meaning in a Māori context. The concept of a treaty or agreement in and of itself may not have been meaningful to Māori.
Did Westerners understand how agreements worked in Māori culture.
So why so few female signatories on the Treaty?
Reminder to not make the assumption that Māori culture was patriarchal and that men held the power. Maybe Western cultural expectations were that a man would sign?
External cultural pressure perhaps pushed Māori men to adopt a dominant position in relation to women?
Dick: all issues of sovereignty, e.g. societal control of women’s bodies, lower/working class men being sent off to war by society, etc.