As a pākehā educated during the 70s and 80s, my ignorance about the Treaty of is profound. I know that there are serious issues revolving around the differences in meaning if the text between the English version and the Te Reo Māori version, and that in many cases the treaty was essentially ignored by the English Crown, but it being the founding document of New Zealand, I should find out more. So I'm reading "The Treaty of Waitangi | Te Tiriti o Waitangi" by Claudia Orange

Still reading, surprises so far:

1. New Zealand already had a Declaration of Independence before the Treaty

2. The English version of the Treaty was essentially made up on the spot by someone who didn't know what he was doing

"...he had no legal training and the Colonial Office had not provided him with a draft. There is no evidence that he checked any treaties already made by Britain..."

3. The English version was translated into Te Reo Māori in one evening, by two Pākehā men who didn't really know what they were doing.

"Although they were comfortable using Māori language, they were not experienced translators..."

4. Although I knew the translation was problematic, I didn't realize that it contained made-up words, e.g. the word "kāwanatanga", used to translate "sovereignty", is a word formed from kāwana", a kind of 'transliteration' of the English word "governor". Māori had to ask what it meant.

"He questioned missionaries and officials about the wording of Te Tiriti, especially the word 'kāwanatanga'...

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5. Lots of rangatira argued vociferously against the treaty, but then signed anyway. (I'm still getting to grips with the various probably good reasons for this, but was a surprise on the face of it)

6. The report sent back to England contained both versions of the Treaty, but the English version was labeled as a 'translation' of the Te Reo Māori version.

7. The scoundrels from The New Zealand Company who sent boat loads of colonists to Wellington without even having secured the promised land for then were *not*, in fact, involved with the government of Great Britain.

They were in a rush to get their settlers to Aotearoa *before* there was any treaty, so they could screw the native people out of their land (which is what they're business model required) without government interference.

8. But once the Treaty was signed, the British Crown decided that it meant they had first dibs on Māori land, and they set the prices. To convince Māori to sell 'unused' land cheaply, they promised to build schools and hospitals. "The promises were mostly unfulfilled". All while Queen Victoria (via Earl Grey) was assuring Māori that the Treaty would be"most scrupulously and religiously observed".

9. Settlers (in Auckland at least) actually supported upholding the Treaty, as they were heavily dependent on trade with Māori.

But only until settlers began to outnumber Māori. Then the Treaty became a nuisance that should be overruled, so it would no longer " damp the ardour and cramp the energies of the industrious white man" - this from a settler who was also 'Native Minister' in the settler government (!)

10. It's becoming creepy to realise that a lot of important places and roads where I grew up were named after assholes; Richmond (Road), Hobson (Street), Wakefield (Street), Grey (Lynn), Marsden (Point)...

But famous Māori protagonists don't seem to have become street names.

We're steeped in colonialism in insidious ways I hadn't imagined.

(Naming streets after colonial assholes is also big in Buenos Aires, where I now live, but at least they teach their exploits in schools here)

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