October 28, 2020
He Whakaputanga lasting declaration of Maori authority
It’s the anniversary of the signing of He Whakaputanga, and a member of the Independent Working Party on Constitutional transformation says the 1835 Declaration of Independence is still relevant.
Margaret Mutu says when the working party, Matakite Mai Aotearoa, consulted with Māori they constantly reverted back to He Whakaputanga as a way to take back control of their lives and not be dictated by foreigners.
She says Te Tiriti o Waitangi can be seen as a codicil or something added on the declaration to control immigration of Pākehā.
"He Whakaputanga was a declaration, a statement to the world that this is a Māori country, it is under the control of Māori, the hapū throughout the country, and it was very important that it was the hapū and the rangatira that spoke for the hapū. That is where the control, the power, the authority lay," Professor Mutu says.
She says He Whakaputanga was not something whipped up by British Resident James Busby, as some historians imply, but was the result of years of discussion by Māori about how they could control the lawless Europeans in their midst.
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