Accepted Paper:

Water-land-person relationships and Te Tiriti O Waitangi/The treaty of Waitangi  

Author:

Andie Palmer (University of Alberta)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores ways that relationships to water are expressed between treaty partners, Maori of Ngapuhi iwi and Crown in Right of New Zealand, including the willingness of one party to share with the other what is essential for the continued life of all.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores ways that relationships to water are expressed between treaty partners, including the willingness of one party to share with the other what is essential for continued life. Water is not explicitly addressed in the Articles of Te Tiriti O Waitangi, as signed in February 1840 by a representative of the British Crown and Maori in northern Aotearoa New Zealand, but is nonetheless considered by rangatira (leaders) of the Ngapuhi iwi, as descendants of signatories to the treaty, as part of their continued relationship with their treaty partners. The sharing of water is considered as part of customary law, which links particular Maori responsibilities based on descent and home territory to specific waterways. The active protection of waters includes both restrictions on the manner in which they may be used, and the capacity to bestow water on those in need through embedded principles of aroha (compassion), whanaungatanga (kinship) and tikanga (law), and the concomitant acknowledgement of a life force, or mauri, imbued in both land and people. These principles in action have benefited a wider New Zealand citizenry in ways that frequently go unrecognized, or at least unacknowledged, 175 years after the signing of the treaty. Actions around a key drinking water source during a recent drought are examined for the ways they make apparent the underlying principles which inform the treaty relationship, and the steadfast ways that Ngapuhi sovereignty is upheld by Maori signatories.

Panel LL-NAS04
Living together with the land: reaching and honouring treaties with Indigenous Peoples