The Kermadecs lie six hundred or so miles to the north of the rest of New Zealand. The main island, Raoul Island, is our country’s northernmost inhabited outpost. The islands are all reserves, administered by the Department of Conservation, and the only inhabitants are Conservation Department staff and volunteers.
As far as the law is concerned, the king is just Mr Paki, a New Zealand citizen and the Queen’s subject like anyone else. Nor, even nominally, is he the king of all Maori ~ as many Maori are the very first to insist. Many in Nga Puhi evidently refer to him as the ‘King of Huntly’!
We look upon Magna Carta as a Good Thing ~ and no-one would dispute for a second that the Great Charter is a foundation stone ~ an early milestone ~ in any case, a very large stone! ~ marking an important place in the evolution of the British Constitution into the glory and envy of the world.
L’esprit de l’escalier, the French call it ~ the wit of the staircase. All those clever things to say that you think of only when you are walking down the stairs after the party is over. I had such thoughts last year, after an interview I did for Fishhead Radio on the subject of the Maori claim, before the Waitangi Tribunal and now to Parliament and government, to fresh water.
There is absolutely no legal, moral or common sense justification for any Maori claim to fresh water. The legal situation is that no-one owns water, and no-one ever has. This was the situation at common law, and the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967 and now the Resource Management Act 1991 start off from the same assumption.
Patriotism. Where has that been in all this debate? Is it an outdated concept now? The love of ones country. I think patriotism is a step beyond our self-conscious and self-important talk of ‘identity’. It is love for something else, not the quest for self-discovery. It is certainly far more than the ‘branding’ which the Prime Minister regularly speaks of.
I am pleased to hear that the Department of Conservation is prosecuting Sonny Tau, big man in Northland’s Nga Puhi, for the possession and indeed, so I understand, for the killing of five native wood pigeon or kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae).
To speak of the Waitangi Tribunal’s agenda is no exaggeration. It is now nothing but a grandly-titled taxpayer-funded Maori lobby group, whose continued existence is increasingly perilous to the country and indefensible on any rational grounds.
Privilege! If there is one thing we all hate, it is privilege. Especially if it is unearned privilege, although even earned privilege may irritate.
This book contains a dozen essays on aspects of Treaty of Waitangi settlements. The fourteen contributors are all, in one sense anyway, eminently qualified to write on the subject. This book is a political tract masquerading as an academic treatise.