Following Dame Patsy's Waitangi Day address, MC Ward Kamo made a few observations about Waitangi Day. Here's what he said:
On this day 180 years ago, one of the founding documents of this nation, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
I want to take a moment to consider the lead up to that signing.
After finishing his observation of the transit of Venus in 1769, Captain Cook opened secret instructions from the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain.
The instructions noted that he was to ‘fall in with the eastern side of the land discovered by Tasman now called New Zealand’ – Cook knew he was coming to NZ so there was nothing to discover.
Cook was instructed “with the consent of the Natives, to take possession of …. The country in the name of the King of Great Britain.”
I want to take a moment to reflect on the words ‘with the consent of the Natives’.
That term is illustrative of how Native peoples were really thought of. Fully capable of interacting and making agreements with Crown. This is a wonderfully enlightened view.
Not 70 years later, Lord Normanby instructed Captain William Hobson to make a treaty with Maori to enable Great Britain to take possession of New Zealand.
His instruction included these amazing thoughts:
“The natives may probably regard with distrust a proposal which may carry on the face of it the appearance of humiliation on their side and of a formidable encroachment on ours.
These, however, are impediments to be gradually overcome by the exercise on your part of mildness, justice and perfect sincerity in your intercourse with them.”
Justice and perfect sincerity. I love those terms.
Because despite ructions in the relationship, the late 20th century and the last two decades we are in have seen these terms ‘justice and perfect sincerity’ came to the forefront. We live in good times.