October 04, 2022
Republic needing constitutional change
A Māori constitutional scholar says turning Aotearoa New Zealand into a republic won’t be as simple as getting rid of King Charles as head of state.
University of Auckland law school associate professor Claire Charters chaired the working group that produced the 2019 He Puapua report on ways to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
She’s giving this year’s Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture on whether the Crown’s claim to sovereignty over Aotearoa is legitimate.
She says while many Māori are keen to see the Crown gone and Aotearoa become a republic, it can’t be done overnight.
“You can’t just quickly become a republic or easily become a republic without thinking about the constitution as a whole. I have heard a view that it’s just a matter of making the governor general head of state and that’s all that’s needed, but I don’t think that’s possible without thinking of wider constitutional reform,” she says.
Claire Charters says there is a feeling among some Maori that Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a compact between Maori and the British Crown, so the relationship with the monarch must endure.