‘Treaty to the masses’: the challenge of a conversation without end that’s hardly begun
This is the title of a paper I gave this past week to the NZ Historical Association conference at Canterbury University. I attach below the paper abstract. The audio file can be heard here:
Paper Abstract: Two decades after the first major historic-claims Treaty settlement in 1995 (Waikato-Tainui), it is timely to consider the contribution of Treaty settlements to a wider conversation on history, identity and justice in New Zealand society. While settlements have restored an economic base to iwi/hapū groupings and rehabilitated Crown-Māori relations, it seems doubtful whether New Zealand society in general has understood the reasons for settlements, including their often complex historical underpinnings. Settlements are arguably also ‘reconstituting’ iwi as modern incorporations recognised at many levels of central, regional and local government, and in such areas as conservation estate management and social service provision. Constitutional reform may yet give te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and the Crown-Māori relationship even greater recognition. Yet these changes are not well appreciated or understood by the population at large. This paper will consider this lack of engagement as a ‘problem-definition’ requiring further significant interrogation, and will attempt a discourse analysis of recent Treaty- and settlements-related literature that addresses a wider audience.