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Roger Childs

Roger is a columnist for the Kapiti Independent newspaper.


Most New Zealanders will be incredulous about this announcement from Treaty Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little, earlier this week. These allocations – $16.6 million and $18.7 million, are in addition to payments of $190,000,000 and $180,000,000 made in December last year to Waikato/Tainui and Ngai Tahu respectively.

All this money which has been handed over has nothing to do with grievances against the state. In the Minister’s double-speak: The Crown is committed to honouring the contractual nature of the Relativity Mechanism clauses …

Since the Waitangi Tribunal was set up in 1975, it has authorised settlements of between $3 -$4 billion dollars to iwi and it’s not finished yet. The government, on behalf of the taxpayer, has dutifully signed the cheques.

With all this money passed on to the part-Maori leaders of present day tribes, one wonders why tens of thousands of the descendants of the early Polynesian settlers are still living in poverty.

Certainly iwi business interests, which have special tax concessions as well, have been doing well and their assets now have a value of tens of billions of dollars.

New Zealanders may wonder why all this cash is still being handed over and will it ever a stop.

Once the large, pending Ngapuhi settlement is made, Waikato/Tainui and Ngai Tahu will get a further top up.

Many people struggle to understand why these handouts go on and on. Is it compensation for confiscations after the North Island Civil War? No, these were largely sorted out in the 1920s and 1940s.

How about breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi? If you read what the Treaty said in 1840, there may have been some Crown actions which infringed the document, however there were many tribal breaches including the murders of settlers and prisoners, and rebellion.

One of the greatest of all Maori in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sir Apirana Ngata, said in 1940 at the centenary celebrations of the signing:

… but for the seal of the sovereignty handed over to Her Majesty and her descendants I doubt that there would be a free Maori race in New Zealand today. … This gentlemen’s agreement called the Treaty of Waitangi on the whole hasn’t been badly observed.

However, do the two recipients of the top ups have a case for on-going funding?......

Continue reading here > http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/iwi-handouts-need-to-stop/



Bob Brockie recently got into trouble with the PC brigade for basically suggesting that the Treaty of Waitangi has nothing to do with science.

He was critical of the New Zealand Royal Society for saying the Treaty should be central to all their work, and of Otago University for requiring all research to be approved by Ngai Tahu. He wondered why the part-Maori descendants of the iwi should have a role.

Academic and historian, Dr Anne Salmond, was horrified and Otago University Research Dean Dr Margreet Vissers gave an Oh Dear! Reaction.

All Maori today have both Polynesian and non-Polynesian forebears. In the ecological and medical branches of science, the early Maori do not have a great record.

*Vast areas of forest were burnt down.
* Moa and a number of other birds were hunted to extinction.
* The traditional priests and healers known as tohunga were suppressed in 1907 as a result of the initiatives of * Maori politicians because of the harm they were doing.

What possible advice can the descendants of these early immigrants provide for present day scientific research? Is their knowledge and wisdom greater than that of people of Irish, English, Indian, Chinese, Tongan or Samoan descent?

Here in Kapiti, many people would like to honour the memory of activist John Murray, and again iwi were insistent on being consulted.

If time in the region has anything to do with it, the case is not strong.

Ngati Toa and Te Atiawa only moved into the Kapiti area, from the Kawhia district and Taranaki respectively, only 20 years or so before European settlers started arriving.

Apparently it’s all to do with the Treaty of Waitangi which was signed 178 years ago.

Have the protagonists for the “consult the iwi process” actually read the Treaty?.....

Continue reading here > kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/iwi-consultation-necessary-or-nonsense/


Roger Childs's Kapiti Independent series


… a people composed of numerous dispersed and petty tribes, who possess few political relations to each other and are incompetent to act or even deliberate in concert. Colonial Secretary, Lord Normanby, speaking about the native inhabitants of New Zealand in his instructions to Hobson, August 1839

It was 6 February 1840 and the location was an elevated area above the Bay of Islands known as Waitangi. The British government’s envoy, Captain William Hobson, had called native tribal leaders together to sign a treaty.

When we examine the significance of this agreement, we need to understand what the signatories understood at the time.

This was a treaty about the scattered native peoples of New Zealand, through their iwi leaders, ceding sovereignty to the British government in exchange for

~ having the ownership of their lands, dwellings and property (taonga) protected

~ becoming British citizens.

There was no Waitangi Tribunal, no late 1980s Maori back-translation into Te Reo, no mention of partnership or principles.

So was the sovereignty of New Zealand placed in the hands of the most powerful nation on the planet? Absolutely.

There was no way the British were going to agree to joint governorship deals with what Lord Normanby called dispersed and petty tribes. He spelled out to Hobson that all of New Zealand, without exception, was to come under the sovereignty of Queen Victoria.

However Normanby wanted the Treaty to be fair to the native inhabitants. In exchange for sovereignty, they would be given many rights which were not accorded to native peoples anywhere else in the world as the time.

Henry Williams, and his son Edward, were experts in the written Maori language which they had helped devise. For sovereignty which was the English word, they chose the Maori term for governor – kawana, and added tanga to make the word ‘governorship’.

Many historians today, claim that the Maori chiefs didn’t understand that they would be ceding sovereignty if they signed the Treaty.

In reality, plenty of the tribal leaders who signed had a working knowledge of English, but regardless, from what the chiefs said at Waitangi, especially those who did not sign, they were obviously clear about what the treaty meant.

The first speakers on 5 February 1840, the day before they signed, strongly criticised the proposed treaty, raising issues that concerned them, such as the loss of their power as chiefs.

This showed that they understood, that in accepting British rule they would be giving up their tribal sovereignty (rule).

Ceding sovereignty to the British Crown was the basis of Article first.

Property acquired by the spear. Hongi Hika’s definition of taonga

.. nothing but timber, flax, pork and potatoes. Nga Puhi chiefs understanding of taonga

This guarantee was the key point in Article second. It was extended to land and dwellings and the Crown was given the “exclusive right” to purchase land that the iwi wished to sell.

How about property? There has been great debate over the use of the word taonga. In Hugh Kawharu 1989 back-translation of Tiriti it means “treasures”, which covers a wide range of elements.

However, the critical point is not what “taonga” means today, but what it meant to the chiefs in 1840.

In 1840 it did not mean “treasures” and everything that word conjures up. It meant property as stated in Thomas Kendall’s and Samuel Lees’ Maori dictionary and grammar of the time.

In Article third, the people of New Zealand (everyone: Polynesian and European) gained the rights and privileges of British citizens. This was in exchange for the cession of Sovereignty to the Queen.

These rights were not given to indigenous people in South Africa or Australia until the late 20th century, even though those peoples had lived in their “countries” for tens of thousands of years.

There have been various versions of the Treaty of Waitangi in circulation, with the latest being a back translation into Maori by Professor Hugh Kawharu in the late 1980s, as mentioned above.

He also included various subtle reinterpretations of words in the original treaty draft. Coincidently, for a time, he was on the Waitangi Tribunal and was also a claimant.

The Tribunal has made a meal out of the new meaning of taonga, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars of claims and payouts to the part-Maori descendants of the 1840 iwi up and down the country.

For all New Zealanders, regardless of their ethnicity and mixed ancestry, is that the Treaty (Tiriti)

* is the country’s founding document

* ceded sovereignty to the British Crown

* guaranteed the ownership of property to all New Zealanders

extended citizenship rights to all.

As Hobson reiterated to each chief after he had signed the Treaty of Waitangi at the time: He iwi tahi tatou – We are now one nation.



In recent years a number of Maori leaders have raised questions about the continuing existence of the taxpayer-funded Waitangi Tribunal and the way it operates. It looks at claims on the basis of who owned the land in 1840, and there is no concern for the fact that in the hundreds of battles during the inter-tribal wars, territory was constantly changing hands

The Tribunal is a racist authority as no non-Maori can make claims. There can be no redress for the massacres by Maori of civilians and prisoners that occurred at Wairau, Pukearuhe and Turanganui, to name a few.

There are also serious questions on where the huge financial settlements end up. Some money goes on improving marae, community facilities and educational institutions, but most goes to the Trust Boards and iwi business. Not surprising, the iwi leaders who run these enterprises have become very wealthy.

Ngai Tahu leader, Stephen (Tipene) O’Regan is reputed to earn over a million dollar a year. (He is one 16th Maori).

Tax payer money handed over to iwi by the Office of Treaty Settlements, on the advice of the Tribunal, is now in the billions and most Maori have seen very little......

Read full article here > http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/iwi-leaders-get-richer-and-richer/


A Maori nation in 1835? No

The 1835 Declaration of Independence (DOI)…may be small in size, but is hugely important. It was how rangatira (Maori leaders) told the world, back in 1835, that New Zealand was an independent Maori nation.

This is nonsense. The DOI was arranged and written by British Resident, James Busby, to prevent a possible take-over by the French, or, an individual such as Baron de Thierry.

Only a few Maori chiefs outside Northland signed it, and the wording did mention that it was just representatives from north of Hauraki.

It never set up a national authority, as rangatira were not prepared to give up authority over their individual tribes.

The exhibition also states that in the DOI … the words used also have a deeper meaning of a land at peace under its rightful owners. It doesn’t mention that between 1800 and1840 there were hundreds of battles in the inter-tribal wars, with over 40,000 men, women and children being killed, many of them prisoners.

The British government did acknowledge the DOI, as it asked King William IV for “protection”. If Britain did later takeover New Zealand as a colony, they would need to negotiate with Maori chiefs.

But it was ultimately a failure. In Historian Paul Moon’s words, the DOI was the impulsive result of a few hours work by a minor official with the misplaced view that the New Zealand chiefs would soon come to share some exalted ideals of government as he did.

Treaty of Waitangi 1940
Sovereignty over all of New Zealand was granted to the British monarch, Queen Victoria. There was no mention of principles or partnership.

What does the He Tohu exhibit say? Among other things:

It recognizes that they (Maori) have tino rangatiratanga (absolute authority and sovereignty) over their lands, resources and taonga (treasured possessions.)

It affirmed and still affirms the rights of Maori to live as Maori and to participate fully as New Zealand citizens in partnership with the Crown …

In reality
* Absolute authority was not granted to Maori chiefs; sovereignty of the entire country was handed over to Queen Victoria and her successors.

* Taonga in 1840 meant possessions. The definition “treasures”, was dreamed up by Hugh Kawharu in the 1980s.

* Partnership did not feature as a concept in the 1840 treaty.

* The 1840 Treaty did not affirm the rights of Maori to live as Maori. Certainly tribal society could continue much as before, but brutal elements of pre-1840 days such as cannibalism, killing prisoners, slavery and female infanticide were outlawed. (These five aspects of traditional Maori society are not mentioned in the exhibition.).....

Read the full article here > http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/skewing-new-zealand-history/

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Brash Bashing Not OK?

Brash bashing seems to be a favourite media sport these days. Don Brash’s views on Maori favouritism and Te Reo are not popular with many, but may well be supported by the majority of New Zealanders.

Karl du Fresne claimed that Brash was whipped by Kim Hill in the recent Saturday interview on National Radio, but admitted that he gave up listening after 15 minutes. There was much more, and the further it went, the more Hill lost the plot in aggressively defending her RNZ colleagues for using Te Reo on air.

Brash in fact, more than held his own in the “debate”, when he was allowed to answer the questions! Du Fresne’s most accurate comment was that Hill’s tactics were … a brazen abuse of the state broadcaster’s power and showed contemptuous disregard for RNZ’s charter obligation to be impartial and balanced......

Read full article here > http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/food-for-thought-brash-bashing-not-ok/


The Otago Daily Times (ODT) recently published an opinion piece that criticised the excessive use of untranslated Te Reo on the main national programme.

Radio New Zealand – the New Zealand equivalent of the BBC – is supposed to be free of political meddling. Yet now it has been hijacked, and its hapless staff obliged to dispense their daily dose of te reo. There were just a few words to begin with. Then longer sentences which have kept on growing until the keener young grovellers now begin and end their spiels with expansive swatches of a lingo understood by only a minuscule proportion of their audience. Dave Witherow, Otago Daily Times, 3 December 2017

Don Brash has also been concerned, and agreed to be interviewed by Kim Hill on Saturday December 2.

Brash referred to listening to the RNZ News at 6.00 in the morning and hearing Guyon Espinar giving a few sentences in Te Reo without any translation. Brash made the point that close on 100% of those listening wouldn’t have a clue what the announcer was saying.

Hill had clearly decided in advance that this interview would be about batting for her colleagues and discrediting her guest. Her position seemed to be I’m right, he’s wrong and I’m going to prove it......

Read full article here > http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/te-reo-on-radio-new-zealand/


In 2016 two books were published covering this key period in New Zealand history:

* The Kingite Rebellion by John Robinson

* The Great War of New Zealand Waikato 1800 – 2000 by Vincent O’Malley

O’Malley’s book at 690 pages is a big one and it is expensive at $80.00. The New Zealand Herald called it their “book of the year”.

It has been widely reviewed and well known historians have sung its praises.

The Waikato War was the most decisive in New Zealand’s history, but has long been overshadowed by bigger wars overseas. Now, in a fine new book, Vincent O’Malley gives the traumatic conflict its due. James Belich, Be it Professor of Imperial and Commonwealth History, University of Oxford

Vincent O’Malley has produced a hugely impressive work of history and a powerful story that should be read by all who care about New Zealand. Jock Phillips, former General Editor of Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

The Maori “king” is delighted with it and it has been well received by iwi around the nation. Not surprisingly, the two Otorohanga students have received a copy.

Sadly, the book, which is generally well-researched, shows a clear pro-Maori bias. For example, to support his contention of “atrocities” at Rangiaowhia in 1864 his source is “Maori oral histories”. He ignores eye witness accounts from both sides.

O’Malley nails his colours to the mast in the initial book dedication.

In memory of the victims of the Waikato War and those who founded and fought to defend the Kīngitanga.

Much the better book
The Kingite Rebellion is definitely the superior book, as John Robinson bases his research around eye witness records, and government documents.

He has no axe to grind and provides excellent background on the outbreak of the Taranaki War in 1860. Key points are made related to mistakes made by the authorities, notably Governor Fitzroy’s foolish decision to overturn a legal ruling by Land Commissioner William Spain related to Maori land claims.

This reversal, which had ruled out absentee owners making claims, allowed Wiremu Kingi, who was living in Kapiti, and the Waikato tribes, to meddle in Taranaki land issues.

Other historians have emphasised that the attempted sale of land in Waitara by its owner Chief Te Tiera Manuka, was the catalyst for war.

However, Robinson details the in-fighting among iwi prior to this “transaction”, which created a volatile situation in the “province”, and the development of pro-sales and anti-sales factions.....

Read full appraisal here > http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/new-zealand-wars-getting-the-truth/