237.130 Independent Study Week #7

Session 7: Talking ink


1. Written response to the following provocation:

In her book The Treaty of Waitangi (1987), Dame Claudia Orange says of the history leading up to the signing of the Treaty, 1830-1840: “No longer were they [British government] considering a Māori New Zealand in which a place had to be found for British intruders, but a settler New Zealand in which a place had to be found for the Māori.”

Provocations: As makers, can we assume to be working in a negotiated cultural space? Is this notion of ‘negotiation’ the same for Māori and non-Māori?

Response 1

The word “negotiation” can be translated in a number of ways into te reo Māori, and it’s important to understand which term/terms are being used. As an example, we can look at a Terms of Negotiation for a specific treaty settlement, as the document seeks to clarify the terminology at the very start:

3.1.1 Maungarongo
The principle of maungarongo means restoring balance, faith and trust between the parties
3.1.2 Tirohangaroa
The principle of tirohangaroa means the commitment of the parties to negotiating the best possible outcomes for the benefit of Te Iwi o
3.1.3 Manaakitanga
The principle of manaakitanga means requiring respect, empathy and generosity of each other as negotiating parties.
3.1.4 Te Ihi Te Wehi me Te Pono
The principle of Te Ihi Te Wehi me Te Pono means acting with integrity, honesty and sincerity of intention and includes fostering a negotiating environment of mutual trust and confidence between the parties.

MANIAPOTO MAORI TRUST BOARD and THE CROWN. Terms of Negotiation. December 2016[1]https://www.govt.nz/assets/Documents/OTS/Maniapoto/Maniapoto-Terms-of-Negotiation.pdf

So, I would argue that if the term “negotiation” is well-defined, then it can reflect a state that can be looked on positively by both Māori and non-Māori.

As to whether as makers we can assume that we are working in a negotiated cultural space, I would argue that we are likely to be doing this when we’re involved in any kind of dialogue that involves two or more parties. The culture need not be Māori/non-Māori, it could be based on gender, age, social position, power (think, police), and so on.

2. Read the following lecture by Prof Margaret Mutu, and note key points in your journal, highlighting ramifications since 1840 for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Response 2

  • I found it very difficult to engage with the document, as it didn’t to me reflect any kind of balanced (or nuanced) viewpoint.
  • It’s interesting to reflect on the origins of “sovereignty”, which is typically defined as something like, “supreme legitimate authority within a territory”. This is a concept that didn’t really come into being until around 1300AD, and didn’t really fully manifest until a few hundred years after that.
  • Help! Sovereignty is a hugely complex subject and I just don’t have the time to fully research the origins and relevance to this context.

Where to start?

In doing research online, I came across this very provocative (and pretty infamous) cartoon…

Tremain, Garrick, 1941- :I’ll race ya! First one ashore’s indigenous! Otago Daily Times, 3 August 2004.[2]https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23248226

Wow, that one’s harsh. Sure I get it, but there’s a bitterness behind it that’s unpalatable. Only 2004, so not that long ago.

This topic is something that will no doubt be difficult to discuss in class. My personal concern is that Britain itself has been invaded and reinvaded over the millennia. Could I, as a British person, seek a settlement with the UK government for the invasion by France in 1066? I could argue that the UK government evolved from an invading and colonizing power that deprived my ancestors of their native lands and imposed a system of government from overseas. Even the legal system I’d need to use to fight this – Common Law – is a product of that invasion and isn’t reflective of pre-conquest law.

One glaring example is the great evil visited on the Anglo-Saxon population by the Norman Conquest of 1066. By any standard, the effect on indigenous English society was enduring devastation. Through war, invasion and genocide, the Anglo-Saxon ruling class was almost entirely replaced, control of the church and state surrendered to foreign adversaries, English replaced by Norman French as the language of government, and England’s entire political, social and cultural orientation shifted from Northern Europe to the continent for the next thousand years.

Mahtani, Sahil. “Sue the Normans!” The Spectator, 13 July 2019, https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/sue-the-normans- . Accessed 12 April 2021.

Could I go further back to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD, and insist that my ancestors’ way of life was destroyed, my religious leaders slaughtered, and so on, and seek settlement with the UK Government, given that it directly evolved from that event?

I know that two wrongs don’t make a right. So which wrongs are in scope for reparations and settlement, and which are out of scope?

If anything, Professor Mutu’s speech reads a little like the article we looked at a few weeks back, where a convenient European myth is that the Polynesian ancestors of Māori accidentally “ran into” New Zealand, and staggered ashore bedraggled and starving, rather than being the superb long-distance sailors that we’re now pretty much certain they were.

Professor Mutu’s speech also artfully avoids any balanced look at Māori culture. She doesn’t reference cultural practices that we’d today consider abhorrent, such as slavery, execution of prisoners of war, and so on. I feel that if we’re going to have a dialogue, and seek a common ground and a constitution that truly reflects all aspects of New Zealand, then we need to be open to the bad things too, and we should not try to retrofit a mythical idyllic lifestyle to pre-colonial Māori society. This is not whataboutism; we need a full accounting.

Where are the guard rails?

One of the strongest feelings that I took away from the article is that it’s pretty naïve, which is a pretty bold statement to make about a professor. There’s an assumption in there that, bluntly, screwing with some of the fundamental tenets of how New Zealand society operates is going to lead in a positive direction. I get very nervous when people propose to do something involving large groups of people for the first time and expect everything to go as predicted. If history teaches us anything it’s that human beings, particularly in groups, are unpredictable.

So, where are the guard rails? What proposals does Professor Mutu have for measuring the success of her proposed changes, and what’s the roll back plan? Also, what’s Plan B? If her proposed interventions lead to separatism, or sectarian violence, or right wing extremism, how will society recognise cause and effect, and how will it change tack and make corrections?


1 https://www.govt.nz/assets/Documents/OTS/Maniapoto/Maniapoto-Terms-of-Negotiation.pdf
2 https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23248226
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