January 22, 2016

This land is your land

FILE - This undated file photo shows folk singer Woody Guthrie playing his guitar and singing. Guthrie's writings, recordings and artwork will land in his native state after an Oklahoma foundation bought the collection, with plans for a display that concentrates on his artistry rather than the populist politics that divided local opinion over the years. Guthrie, known for the anthem, "This Land is Your Land" and his songs about the poor and downtrodden, is remembered mostly as a musician, composer and singer, but was also a literary figure and an artist, said Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.   (AP Photo/File)

Woody Guthrie (undated)

Early in the US depression (1929-1939) Guthrie abandoned his family and joined the migration of Oklahoma farmers (Okies) off the land they had impoverished (made into a Dust Bowl) and on to California looking for work, any work. He learned their blues and other songs creating a strong foundation for his own song writing. But it was not until February 1940, while the US was sitting on the sidelines of World War II, that he penned what may be his most well known song: This land is your land.  You have probably joined in singing the first two verses at least once in your life. Just in case they have slipped your memory here they are. These verses have been covered by numerous performers since the 1960s: most recently in a full-length performance at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 by Pete Seeger and others.

This land is your land, this land is my land,
From California to the New York island;
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

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January 13, 2016

An Open Letter to Tourism New Zealand and Qualmark

My  partner and I opted to become domestic tourists this summer and undertook an epic road trip from Auckland in the North to Nugget Point in the South. We stayed with friends, family and at holiday parks on the way, engaging with a number of tourist operators, going on boat trips, to art galleries etc. As part of this journey, we encountered many international tourists curious about our country.

As domestic tourists, we came with a base-line understanding of the history of Aotearoa, Te Reo and tikanga Māori. We were disappointed that many of the tourist operators we encountered, including those with Qualmark endorsements, did not seem to share this basic understanding. We note the following concerns from our travels:

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November 20, 2015

Conversations Around a Flag: Getting our history straight about the 1834 Te Whakaminenga Flag.

This blog reflects concerns about how our history is being told, especially with regard to our country’s first flag, the 1834 Te Whakaminenga Flag. Set out below are emails on this subject, sent to the Treaty Worker movement and New Zealand’s Flag Consideration Panel.

united tribes variation
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October 26, 2015

The Rugby Haka Debate

Attacks on Māori tikanga and taonga routinely place Pākehā who wish and work for a Tiriti-based future for this country in an invidious position. The targets of the assault are not ours and we rarely have the knowledge and spiritual connection to them that would support a direct defence. At the same time we know that there must be a vocal opposition to the attack because, as our Pākehā lore has it, silence means consent. An example of such attacks was provided by a Listener editorial that questioned the rightness of All Blacks performing a haka before international matches. The following was my attempt to challenge the thinking and claims behind the editorial.

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September 10, 2015

New Support for School Boards Around Te Tiriti o Waitangi Application

School boards are accountable for the performance of their school and student achievement. This includes making decisions that support Māori learners to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori. Congratulations to the New Zealand School Trustees Association for their new publication and resources to support trustees in their efforts to implement Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The resources include i) Te Tiriti and school governance information booklet, ii) board activities and inquiry scenarios and iii) video clips offering inspirational stories of school and community change.

school boardstiriti postThe governance booklet focusses on supporting boards moving from rhetoric to practices which are evidence-based and culturally responsive. It provides support to embed Te Tiriti o Waitangi into strategic planning, explores honourable kāwanatanga (governance) and provides up-to-date evidence on Māori students’ achievement. For the busy board member, the clips share powerful stories of how different schools have been proactive in this key area of school life – affirming Māori language, identity and culture in order to benefit the whole school.

September 8, 2015

Critical Curriculum Guide to Māori and Pākehā Histories: From Primary to Secondary

If our future is one where Te Tiriti o Waitangi is honoured, it makes sense to teach our children a critical history of Aotearoa New Zealand. In order to do this we need curriculum and resources for teachers to embed this thinking throughout our primary, intermediate and secondary education system.

Tasmin Hanly, a senior Pākehā educationalist who has twenty-five years teaching experience, is currently developing a robust curriculum to support anti-racism education. Tasmin works part-time lecturing at the Auckland University Education Department and has been part-time writing the curriculum. In order to fund this project she has mortgaged her house, but needs us to give a little to make her dream come true. Tāmaki Tiriti Workers have meet with her and reviewed the draft documents and fully support this undertaking.

give a little post pic2

The curriculum consists of six unit booklets that make a box-set for education centres to purchase, copy, do professional development, read, plan and teach from. The content chronologically covers Te Ao Māori o Nehera, British Isles, Two Worlds Meet, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Pākehā Responses, Māori Responses. Optional junior and senior activities and integrated curriculum term-overviews are included. It is a single programme to help educators plan and teach their approach to New Zealand’s Māori and Pākehā cultures and histories cohesively.

This curriculum can practically support New Zealand Curriculum goals which require New Zealanders to be knowledgeable about Māori and Pākehā, to understand histories of their relationship and enact Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It can effectively enact Ministry and other related educational policies that expect educators to do this. It has been written in response to research findings that teachers have outdated knowledge about Māori and Pākehā histories and a lack of accurate history, Te Tiriti and Māori knowledge. Teachers also avoid controversial content and believe younger students cannot manage this content.

The curriculum initial target audience is primary schools, principals and practitioners but it can also be professional development for all educational levels such as secondary and ECE, including school Boards of Trustees. It has been written for both mainstream and Māori pathways, and practitioners of all ethnicities to teach students of all ethnicities.

Contact Tasmin through her give a little page.

July 3, 2015

New Zealand has a New National Human Rights Plan

This week the Human Rights Commission launched their new human rights plan.

Its current focus is:

  • how human rights issues are managed within the policy and law making processes
  • New Zealand’s growing diversity and its impacts on our society and race relations
  • issues raised in respect of inequalities and discrimination in New Zealand
  • tackling violence and abuse in New Zealand.

Oops… we seemed to have missed the consultation process! We wish HRC well in co-ordinating government, business and civil society to implement their plan.


Gospel and Te Tiriti conversation…

When:  Friday evening, 9 October and Saturday morning and afternoon, 10 October 2015

What:    Key Note speakers and workshop speakers with time for group discussion

Where:  Laidlaw College Wānanga Te Amorangi – 80 Central Park Drive, Henderson, Auckland

Who:     Christians of all denominations

This seminar is an opportunity for people of faith to consider the links between the Gospel and the Treaty, and the conversations of respect and mutual enrichment this invites us into. Christians were closely involved in the signing of the Treaty and have, therefore, a special role of guardianship for the Treaty relationship. This gathering follows last year’s hui on the Gospel and the Treaty, which recognised the bicentenary of the Gospel coming to Aotearoa New Zealand and the fact that 2015 is the 175 year anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Any further inquiries to: Ricky.Waters@manukau.ac.nz  OR wfowler@laidlaw.ac.nz


June 22, 2015

Treaty conference in Tāmaki Makaurau





He honore he kororia ki te Atua, he maungarongo ki te whenua, he whakaaro pai ki ngā tangata katoa.
E ngā mana e ngā reo e ngā karangaranga maha, he mihi rangatira tēnei ki a koutou e whai whakaaro mō te kaupapa nei “I te Tiriti ki te Whenua”. Ma tēnei kaupapa, ka whakamārama i ngā take me ngā huarahi e tukuna iho ai e te takitahi me ngā rōpū, ō rātou ahurea, ō rātou tuku ihotanga, kia mau pūmau.
Nā reira e manu taki, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

As Treaty settlements now realign the relationship between Māori and the Crown, the 175th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi provides an opportunity to reflect on its place in Aotearoa/New Zealand.This conference focuses on changing understandings of the Treaty since the Second World War and how these have influenced New Zealand policy making, institutions and communities. It assesses the impact of these developments on the current position of the Treaty and its role in the future.

This conference will benefit those working with the Treaty across all sectors including health, education, social services, law, heritage, creative arts, local and central government, iwi, environmental management, treaty settlement, the public sector and business, and those studying the recent history of the Treaty and its impact.

The event begins with a two day conference where panels of invited scholars and practitioners explore the Treaty ‘on the ground’ since World War II (to be held at Auckland War Memorial Museum 6-7 July 2015).  There will be the opportunity for extensive discussion and for the sharing of experiences and challenges. The third day is for new and emerging scholars to share their research at a colloquium (to be held at Massey University Auckland, 8 July 2015).

Speakers : include Michael Belgrave, Aroha Harris, Cybele Locke, Melissa Williams, Kim Workman, Tom Bennion, Cindy Kiro, Sharon Hawke, Te Kawehau Hoskins, Michael Dreaver, John Hutton, April Bennett, Margaret Kawharu, Peter Meihana, Maria Bargh, Cluny Macpherson, Haami Piripi, Mayor Meng Foon, Damian Skinner and Ngarimu Blair.


Check out their website Treaty on the Ground

Right of first refusal: Calling the Crown to act with honour

In 1840, Ngāti Whātua invited Governor Hobson to establish his seat of government on their land adjacent to the WaitemataHarbour. Their intention was a flourishing centre, bringing advantage to Ngāti Whātua and new settlers. Sadly, the Governors and the Government soon lost sight of working in partnership with Ngāti Whatua. Decisions were made and legislation passed that caused Ngāti Whātua huge losses of land. The injustice of what happened is well recorded in the Waitangi Tribunal’s Orakei Report. Similar processes by the Crown meant that Waikato-Tainui wrongfully lost land in South Auckland. As part of the Crown’s recompense to these iwi, they were granted right of first refusal on Crown properties in their respective territories.

What is the “right of first refusal” and what lies behind it? Put simply, a group with right of first refusal on a property has the first option to buy the property when it becomes available for sale. If they turn down that option, then the property can go on the open market. The Crown’s Settlements with any iwi are acknowledged to be very small in relation to the value of the lands originally taken. Legislation in 1992 had established that private land could not be used in the settlement of treaty claims, and often the amount of Crown land immediately available is limited. That is why a number of the Settlements include a clause stating that an iwi will have right of first refusal over Crown property before it is put on the open market.

In this year’s Budget the Government announced that it would be making Crown land available to private developers for the purpose of housing. In doing this they overlooked the iwi with right of first refusal. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Housing have since claimed that the Government has the legal right to go ahead with their proposal. This is obviously going to be tested in the Courts. However, their emphasis on being legally in the right completely ignores the issue of whether what they propose is morally right. The Courts have made it very clear that the Crown, that is the Government, is obliged to act as a Treaty partner. On this the Crown’s honour depends.

Partnership means entering into conversations with your partner about future developments long before they are presented as settled policy; it means working together on common concerns. Ngāti Whātua have made it very clear they are interested in being part of housing development that will benefit a wide range of people. They are committed to the welfare of Auckland city. Those of us who are not Māori might well find that solutions proposed by Ngāti Whātua are much more in line with our sense of common good than those put forward by a government situated in Wellington. Certainly, if the Government had taken seriously its Treaty partnership with Ngāti Whātua and Waikato-Tainui, some of Auckland’s housing issues would not be facing the present delays.

Dr Susan Healy