Wednesday, December 01, 2004


an interesting post from the Grey Shade, but i think he'll find this type of talk off the agenda when the time somes to debate the constitution.

at the NZPSA conference i attended the other week, there were very clear calls for 'The Treaty' to be specifically excluded from this type of debate, and after reading shade's dramatic over analysis of the matter i can see why.

the thing is, the treaty is all about the establishment of a relation between the two parties, and not a basis for a 'modern' legal relationship. trying to bind the treaty with a formal framework runs the risk of an endless stream of litigation filtered through weird 'cultural relativity' arguments and is very, very likely to become embroiled in controversy.

the line i tried to push at the conference was one forwarded by various contemporary authors who would rather interpret the relation as one between societies, and not lawyers, thereby freeing the treaty relationship up and letting it remain slightly aloof.


Blogger Greyshade said...

I don't quite understand why the Treaty would be excluded from any constitutional debate. I would have thought that the "Treaty Issues" were the only ones of any burning urgency.

5:55 PM  
Blogger the other 'Che' said...

you're 100% right about the central role of the treaty, but a big part of the problem is the over-analysis of the content of the treaty, and especially the attempt to 'define' major fairly ephemeral maori cultural concepts in a western way.

i wasn't directly critising you as such, but am concerned that this type of analysis will result in a spooking of the mainstream who already have reservations about the treaty itself.

instead of hyperextending the content talk, we might need to talk about the relation *between* the two cultural groups. this undermines problems of cultural relativity, and especially problems of cultural transformation.

what happens if the aspects of maoritanga evolve in a social sense? then we'd have to renegotiate. but, if its about the relations, evolutions or change aren't an issue, unless they involve *substantive* change.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Greyshade said...

I take your point but I suspect mainstream Pakeha are already being spooked by "underanalysed" versions of the Treaty. My original post on the subject ( was in response to an article by Chris Trotter expressing an all-too-typical Pakeha response to Maori demands for "Rangitiratanga". I believe that when we honestly analyse the text and intent of the treaty the concept of Rangitiratanga contains much that would be highly valued by Maori yet does little injury to Pakeha claims of title. I dare to hope that we may be able to frame a new legal instrument that embodies both parties' view of the Treaty and vision of the future and does so with clarity. And yet, given the sorry history of bad faith, plunder and injustice that bedevils our past, I fear to settle for anything less.

11:26 AM  
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