Waitangi Tribunal


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Waitangi Tribunal

(New Zealand) a body set up in 1975 to deal with claims under the Treaty of Waitangi 1840. It was restructured in 1985. For the Maoris, it is said to be more than a simple consensual contract, having as it does the additional force of the obligation to venerate ancestors' promises. The treaty had three articles. It gave the British Crown sovereignty over New Zealand; it assured Maori New Zealanders that the Crown would protect all cultural and property rights. The third article gave Maoris full rights of British citizenship. The 1985 Amendment Act allowed the tribunal to look into violations that had taken place right back to the original treaty. The 1988 Amendment Act was required to help process a large backlog of claims, many complaining of conduct in imperial times. The tribunal's remit is to consider claims relating to the practical application of the treaty. The tribunal considers whether the claimant was one judicially affected. The claimant must be Maori or of Maori descent. Since 1988 the tribunal can make decisions that bind state enterprises. The tribunal is investigative rather than adversarial; its proceedings could be described as casual and permit cases to be argued in Maori. It continues to sit at the time of writing.
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Summary of statement of evidence before the Waitangi Tribunal Wellington in the matter of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and the Department of Corrections and Reoffending Prisoners Claim.
For instance, in Canada there is the Indian Act (37) and reserves, a history of residential native schooling, no single treaty, and no judicial institutions similar to the Maori Land Court or the Waitangi Tribunal.
This same concern is echoed by the authors of the recent Wai 262 Waitangi Tribunal report (Waitangi Tribunal, 2011).
Partnership, and the duty to act reasonably, honourably and in good faith, form part of the principles of the Treaty, and the Waitangi Tribunal criticised the Crown's 'narrow and pragmatic approach' to the issues in this situation, in particular its decision whether or not to make a submission on the Rena owners' resource consent application to leave the wreck on the reef, which exacerbated tensions with the claimants.
In 1975, the government responded with the Treaty of Waitangi Act, which established the Waitangi Tribunal (Sorrenson 1989).
I will refer to four public parts--as legal practitioner, as public service administrator, as academic and as a member of the Waitangi Tribunal.
For the past 40 years, New Zealanders both Maori and Pakeha have been backseat spectators as the Treaty of Waitangi has gradually been re-written, reinterpreted and ultimately tortured to become something it never was, and two recent Waitangi Tribunal rulings show it's time to blow the whistle before players get hurt.
The powers of the Waitangi Tribunal were massively, unnecessarily and unpatriotically extended by the Lange/Palmer government for no other reason than to try to buy the votes of Maori at the following election.
The timing is also important as it comes on the back of the recent Waitangi Tribunal report that revealed both Maoris and the Crown signed the agreement as equal partners.
These are the Wai 11 and Wai 262 claims to the Waitangi Tribunal (set up in 1975 to hear claims relating to Crown violations of the Treaty of Waitangi).
However, many Maori and other researchers reflect that there is still not a true partnership between the Crown (the State) and Maori stakeholders (Clark & Grey, 2010; Jenkin, 2009; Waitangi Tribunal, 2010) in many spheres of Aotearoa / New Zealand society, including education.
Nor are the four key themes that the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal has suggested are the pillars of treaty process: partnership (working together in good faith); informed decision-making (including by consultation); protection (of Maori rights, lands, possessions and taonga or treasures); and redress (compensation for treaty breaches) (Te Puni Kokiri, Ministry of Maori Development, 2002) given representation as key concepts in this list of frequent terms.