In all the hand waving about Waitangi Day it was a pleasure to listen to Sir Douglas Graham and Archdeacon Dr Hone Kaa talk about the Waitangi Tribunal at the Auckland Museum the other night.?? Moderated by Finlay Macdonald they discussed 35 years of the Waitangi Tribunal and the end of the claims process; moving from grievance to development.?? It’s terribly cliched but I felt that they spoke with genuine respect and enjoyment of each others cultures.?? When they disagreed they did so in a civilised manner.?? Sometimes old school rocks.
Sir Douglas has been involved in negotiations in the Auckland region.?? Apparently the original agreement around the volcanic cones was made with Ngati Whatua without consideration of the fact that other iwi have interests in Maungakiekie and Maungawhau.?? That has since been renegotiated and iwi will work together as a collective to act as a recipient of rights.?? Current interests and public rights are preserved under this agreement.?? He then described how each iwi linked to the maunga – this person went there, then that situation happened, then this whanau did that.?? He spoke about how he understood how important it is for iwi to preserve relationships with the maunga as their ancestors had links with the land.
Sir Douglas offered an interesting insight into the process. ‘When we started we had no idea what we were doing nor did Maori. We knew the grievances but not solutions. We worked together – fell over, got up and tried again. This is not commercial negotiations. Emotions are involved.’ He gets a personal thrill from seeing developments by iwi.?? (The money goes to the iwi rather than individuals as ‘It’s not today’s generation that suffered, it was the iwi that suffered.’ He thinks that it’s a common misunderstanging about what happens with the money.?? Rather than going to individuals it goes to the iwi to spend as they will.?? (Usually on scholarships, superannuation schemes etc.)?? Sir Douglas said that it would take time and that iwi may stuff up but then ‘we all have.’?? Archdeacon Dr Kaa agreed and said that it depended on iwi as to whether there was an ‘elite’ created.?? He felt that if the ‘elite’ were prominent then the iwi would suffer.)
Archdeacon Dr Kaa thought the progress was marvellous.?? He described what it was like in the 70s, especially the situation at Bastion Point and how it was a battle with the government.?? He said the Prime Minister was not helpful and expressed a wish that the current progress ‘could have been made 30 years ago.’ He then went on to talk about the first meetings in 1985.?? It was held in a hotel, not on a marae, and only pressure from outside parlament opened the negotiations up. ‘Things changed, progress was made’.?? He said it was ‘amenable to work with Lange’.
It’s been 35 years since the Waitangi Tribunal was set up.?? “With its current resources, the Tribunal expects to have prepared casebooks for all historical claims by 2010 and for all generic claims by 2012.“?? Sir Douglas said the cutoff date was for iwi to make a claim by and if it can’t be settled by that date then we have to be patient and tolerent. In his experience each iwi has different information available to them at different times.?? The protocols that were set up in the very beginning (e.g.?? If this happened then this is what it’s worth) help to progress discussions and put boundaries around what can be asked for.?? He said that there are two parts to every settlement.?? The first is acknowledgement of wrong done and apology from the Crown to iwi on behalf of the people of New Zealand. Often the cash component is less important than the return of land. The financial recompense to the iwi makes sure they are strong forever; it is not intended to deprive people of their social welfare rights. Archdeacon Dr Kaa agreed that the state still had a responsibility.
Sir Douglas talked about the Tribunal as having gathered a body of knowledge which is a history of the encounter between Maori and?? Pakeha. ‘It can teach us something about how to be a multicultural nation.?? It was a matter of finding right place to share stories.?? People can read the histories.?? Don’t have to read too many to discover that something had to change.’?? He felt that New Zealand was streets ahead of other countries in terms of negotiating and settlement.??
Finlay Macdonald asked both of them what they though should happen after the Tribunal had finished making recommendations about Treaty claims.?? Sir Douglas said he thought it should stay and widen its scope to include opportunity for Pakeha to say X iwi was breaching their obligations under the Treaty.?? He thinks it is a body which can mediate breaches of obligations with ‘prejudice against someone.’?? Archdeacon Dr Kaa said no, that the Tribunal was established because Maori asked for it.???? He was however, willing to entertain the idea further.?? He thought that the Tribunal could pursue the task of reconciliation further not just offering apologuies.?? He suggested it could maybe it could be a body to hear grievances into the future.
Archdeacon Dr Kaa talked a little bit about Whanau Ora, a new way to fund providers of schemes and programmes for Maori . It was created as a response to restoring some sense of sovereignty.?? ‘Applying Maori dimensions to Maori problems.?? Won’t need to go through (mostly) white budget holders.’?? He felt that Maori were not as well engaged in the political process as they should be and that he was working on encouraging them.?? He said that there was great disengagement – ‘politics quite boring, politicians even more boring. Maori were never that engaged except for a small number of vocal people. Their memory is of a spokesperson for the whanau or iwi.?? Need to give people that desire, empower them to be their own spokesperson.’
Q. Politicians know that playing the race card usually results in publicity and sometimes votes. Do you think using the ”race card is on the wane???
A. Archdeacon Dr Kaa – I think talkback has replaced that. There are politicians on the radio now! The nation is changing.?? Younger politicians are aware of ‘others’ existance.?? Can see us everywhere.
Q. Do you think Maori should have legislated representation in the new Auckland supercity?
A. Sir Douglas – Yes, in favour of Maori representation in the supercity.?? Was dealing with 13 iwi in negotiations over Maungakiekie and Maungawhau but more iwi interested in Auckland and Coromandel area so could end up with strange representation.?? ‘Put my oar in but it counted for exactly nothing’. Does this conflict with my ideas about national representation? Think there are representatives nationally – Maori Party. There has been a call for Maori house (used example of Maori Anglican Church representatives) but with the existence of the Maori Party the need for a seperate Maori House is lessening.
Q. From Sir Paul Reeves – Was involved in settlements for Wellington region.?? Looked at the word ‘apology’ – it gave the Crown the last word so now we ‘forgive the Crown’ which opens it up for reconciliation and prosperity for the community.
A.. Sir Douglas – oh yes, good evolution.
Q. I’m currently reading Judith Binney’s excellent book “Encircled lands : Te Urewera, 1820-1921“ which includes the notion of Tuhoe as an autonomous iwi – is there room for autonomous nation???
A. Archdeacon Dr Kaa – A subject that warms my heart.?? All power to them for pushing soverignty.??
A. Sir Douglas – Don’t think so – look at reservations in the United States.?? In favor of devolving power to iwi (like Whanauora) but thinks NZ is too small Not sure that the concept of having own police force is suitable for NZ.?? Sympathetic to their cause.?? In favor of devolving power to iwi (like Whanauora) but thinks NZ is too small.
Sir Douglas kept saying ‘it will take time, no point in getting too excited about things.’?? He likened it to two families living in the same house with different cultural backgrounds and different ways of working.?? There might be disagreements but if each person is doing their best to make it work the eventually it would.?? The two men showed that it was possible to disagree without resorting to name-calling or sensationalism.
Happy Waitangi Day 2010.
Season tickets available for the LATE series.?? The 2010 theme is “innovation”.?? (There is always a lecture (moderated by the excellent Finlay Macdonald) and good music.?? Plus you get the chance to wander around the Museum at night.)
* notes in ‘ ‘ are not exact quotes, I couldn’t write that fast.
** If you’re wondering about the different ways I’m referring to Sir Douglas Graham and Archdeacon Dr Hone Kaa – I’ve taken my cue from the Museum writeup.?? I’m assuming the writer has taken their cue from the individuals.