The Other Arts Tutorial

Last week I was invited by my friend John Dennison to speak to a small ‘alternative tutorial’ group dubbed ‘the Other Arts Tutorial’. They’re a group of mostly under-grad humanities and social science students at Victoria Uni who meet every week to discuss something relevant and topical. They also usually have a supportive self-disclosure session about ‘where I am’ and ‘what I’m learning’. It was great to speak with them.

I took as my theme ‘My story, Our story’, talking a little about my background and journey into understanding New Zealand’s history and identity. I shared some words and thoughts from a range of sources, including an 1850 letter, a poem I’d written, and a clip of Tame Iti speaking at a Tedx Auckland conference. The links for this and other things are given in the attached slide summary.

Carpenter – Other Arts Tutorial – May 16

Baxter funeral

 

Waitangi Day public forum

We’re excited to bring Karuwha Trust’s first Waitangi Day public forum to the Bay of Islands on 6 February 2016.  Hosted at St Paul’s Anglican on the Paihia waterfront,  our line-up of speakers this year includes Maori writer/film-maker Brad Haami, author/writer Keith Newman, and Williams’ descendant Elisabeth Ludbrook.

In Aotearoa NZ we have a lot of great stories that lie forgotten. However we also have creative people, in increasing numbers, who are bringing these stories to light and returning them to our collective memory.

Please support this event.

See event page here.

This is a free event, but donations are much appreciated. Donations can easily be made via our Give a Little page or electronic banking – see here.

 

‘Treaty to the masses’

‘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:

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Maori Parliament buildings - Wairarapa 1890s
Māori Parliament at Pāpāwai, Wairarapa, late 1890s. Ref: PAColl-1892-78. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. 
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.

When NZ starts to listen…

I just watched this clip tonight: Tame Iti speaking to a recent TedX event in Auckland. He starts off slow and measured, almost halting. But he continues to speak, plainly and assuredly, telling his story – or really just snapshots of his story. You can feel the audience warming to his heart and method. His theme is basically about respect, about human beings treating each other on the same level – kanohi-ki-te-kanohi/ face-to-face. The applause at the end is the measure of the way a powerful story, told simply, can move people.

Aotearoa NZ needs more stories like this, told like this.

Nga mihi nui kia a koe, e te rangatira, e Tame.

My top 10

A Reading List
I thought it was about time I shared a list of some of the books that have really shaped my thinking and inspired me in the areas of New Zealand history, identity and justice-Treaty conversations. So here's a top 10:

History & Identity Conversations:
M King, Being Pakeha Now, 2nd ed, Penguin, 1999 (or 2004).
This book is Michael King’s autobiographical account of his journey into the Maori world and how it radically shaped his perspective on ‘being Pakeha’. Foundational reading in this area, even if you don’t agree with all his conclusions.

H Melbourne, Maori Sovereignty: the Maori Perspective, Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995 AND  Carol Archie, Maori Sovereignty: the Pakeha Perspective, Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995

Fascinating reflections by various NZ personalities. Note the date: 1995. Some of this will seem dated now, but it helps to chart how things have shifted in NZ society (but have attitudes and understandings fundamentally shifted?).

Missionary and Maori biographies:
L M Rogers, Te Wiremu: A Biography of Henry Williams, Christchurch, Pegasus, 1973
The standard biography of Williams’ life. Was published in 1973 so quite old now, but still fundamentally inspirational stuff.

S M Woods, Samuel Williams of Te Aute: a biography, Pegasus 1981 (or Te Rau Herald Print, 1997)
One of Henry’s sons and another inspirational member of the Williams’ clan: missionary, pioneer agriculturalist, and founder of Te Aute college, Hawkes Bay. Well researched and written too.

J M R Owens, The Mediator: A Life of Richard Taylor 1805-1873, Victoria University Press, 2004.
An important early missionary figure influential in the Whanganui region. Written by a respected historian.

L S Rickard, Tamihana the Kingmaker, Christchurch, Cadsonbury Publications, 1996        The NZ Herald recently listed Wiremu Tamihana as one of New Zealand’s 10 all-time greatest figures. I concur. No New Zealand history would be complete without dealing with his story. Heart-rending and inspirational.  A more in-depth read is given in E Stokes, Wiremu Tamihana: Rangatira, Wellington, Huia, 2002. Note this is basically an annotated collection of Tamihana’s correspondence, with introduction.

R Walker, He Tipua: The Life and Times of Sir Āpirana Ngata, Auckland, Penguin, 2001
Surely the 20th century’s leading Maori statesman. This is quite a factually dense narrative, but worth the effort.

Treaty and Legal History:
A Ward, A Show of Justice: Racial ‘Amalgamation’ in Nineteenth Century New Zealand, Auckland, Auckland University Press, 1974
This book is probably still the best general history of policy and legal frameworks applying to Maori society in the 19th century; content-rich but very readable.

C Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, Bridget Williams, 2011 (2nd ed)
Probably the best general history of the trajectory of the Treaty itself in law and society from 1840 to present day.

M Palmer, The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand’s law and constitution, Wellington, Victoria University Press, 2008                                                                                                                                                This book provides a present-day law and constitutional focus. By a leading constitutional lawyer (and son of Sir Geoffrey Palmer).

Puta mai te Pikitia

Bringing to light images from the past and present that talk about our identity. Hana Carpenter

I came across this inspired design representing cultural diversity in Aotearoa NZ. Can’t believe I haven’t seen it before.

Diversity Fern - HRC
Diversity Fern – Human Rights Commission

 

Waitangi, Elephant in the Motu? – part ii

Waitangi Day is over for another year, the elephant didn’t exactly roar around the motu, but it made its presence known. The day was recognised in various ways. Many of us commemorated the signing where it all began, others in different settings around the motu, while the majority probably simply enjoyed the ‘free’ day.

the lower marae Te Tii

February 6th has yet to enter into the national imagination like Anzac Day, which many have adopted as symbolic of our national identity and as a metaphor for our ‘coming of age’ as a nation. I wish to question this perspective without at all diminishing the sacrifice of so many young Kiwis on that beach in Gallipoli. There was, truly, great trauma, woundings and death on that foreign soil. Instead I question the way so many revere Anzac Day, while comparatively few view Waitangi Day as significant.

I  noticed the somewhat cynical comments by the presenters of TV 1’s Seven Sharp. Mike Hosking referred to Waitangi Day as, ‘that annual ritual that masquerades as our national day, and which we brace for some level of upheaval and acrimony…’ His co-presenter, Toni Street continued, ‘And so we are braced, we are waiting for it all to hit the fan…’

So what about the ‘masquerade of Waitangi Day as our national day’? Does it deserve such condescension? What should a national day look like? These questions could yield a variety of responses, but for a good number of New Zealanders, Waitangi Day is a day worthy of commemoration. A brief glimpse at this year’s gathering reveals a little of ‘what the national day looks like’.

At Waitangi and its environs, thousands turned up to participate in a variety of activities over a three day period.  Hosted by Ngapuhi, the Crown and local residents, these thousands included the rich and the poor, Māori and Pākehā, the political elite, the young and the old. They included the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, and the leaders of the minor parties. The National Māori Council hosted a hui in their marquee with a variety of voices, including Sir Eddie Durie, Donna Awatere-Huata, Winston Peters, and Gareth Morgan, who amongst much good-natured banter covered a range of topics from Māori ownership of water, to Māori wardens and the current role of the Treaty.

Close by, anti-oil exploration protestors rubbed shoulders with John Key, curious bystanders and a benign police presence. Our own Karuwhā Trust marquee ensured that the contribution of early missionaries to the Treaty was not forgotten. The marquee, a few metres away from the spontaneous rapping of a member of the multi-talented Harawira whanau, hosted a variety of visitors and inquirers.

Discussions both informal and formal were held in Waitangi meeting houses, hotels, marquees and over cups of coffee, fried bread and raw fish. The Constitution, water ownership, the flag, the Treaty itself and the Black Caps’ chances in the World Cup were discussed and debated. People participated in the powhiri at Te Ti Marae, the Dawn Service and the later church service at Te Whare Rūnanga – the nation’s marae on the Treaty grounds. They watched the navy band, the flag being raised and waka being launched. Some bought stuff from the craft markets, Māori bibles from the Bible Society, while others protested in close proximity to those doing bombs off the bridge. Add to this, buskers, Ardijah on the main stage, swimming, sleeping on the beach and political fora against the backdrop of a sparkling Bay of Islands, and a glimpse of our national day can be seen.

Not a ‘masquerade’, and neither did whatever ‘hit the fan’, but it was a day of significance that provides an opportunity for our nation to commemorate, celebrate and also ponder how the Treaty relationship can be restored. This is a day of conversation that looks back, examines the present, and dreams about the Waitangi aspiration of unity or kotahitanga, spoken of 175 years ago by Lt. Governor Hobson in his famous words: He iwi tahi tātou! We are now one people! Not all the same – no – but all belonging to this land because of the Treaty’s invitation to be here and prosper here, together.

20150206_102630

Alistair Reese

Waitangi, the Elephant in the Motu

We've asked one of our trustee's, Alistair Reese 
for his whaakaro...

It’s that time of year again, when the ‘elephant in the motu’ makes its appearance. I am referring to the nation’s commemoration of Te Tiriti or the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6th. This year, however, the ‘elephant’ might trumpet more regularly because it happens to be 175 years since the signing, and perhaps even more importantly, because the Constitutional Advisory Panel’s recommendations on a Constitution, which were tabled in 2013, will be considered by the Crown. Although the Government has given no clear timetable yet for constitutional reform it is clear that the Treaty will be a major talking point. Indeed, one of the recommendations of the Advisory Panel to the Government is that it: ‘develops a national strategy for civics and citizenship education in schools and in the community, including the unique role of the Treaty of Waitangi, te Tiriti o Waitangi, and assign responsibility for the implementation of the strategy…’

A question. How will these recommendations be received by the wider populous?

Perhaps somewhat simplistically I suggest with regard to Te Tiriti, “the populous” might be characterized in the following way. To some, February 6th is simply an opportunity to enjoy a day free of work or school responsibilities, with scarcely a thought to the holiday’s raison d’etre.  I would call this group the agnostic or silent majority – without any clear perspective on Waitangi, and even an ambivalence towards the Treaty conversation.

The other two other groups hold stronger opinions; they are numerically less than the silent majority and occupy positions that are diametrically opposed to each other.

One of these groups, made up of mainly Pākehā and later settlers, holds that the Treaty is merely an historical or cultural artefact, and one which is presently an aberration in our national commemoration calendar. In their view, it privileges on the basis of ethnicity and has the potential to divide a nation that holds a proud record of race relations. The refrain from this group proposes that Waitangi is a Trojan horse for a system of apartheid in Aotearoa NZ – this narrative continues the negative tenor of the 1877 pronouncement by Justice Prendergast that the Treaty is a “simple nullity”, or Donald Brash’s 2004 Orewa Nationhood speech, where he iterated that the document had passed its ‘used by date’ and implies that it is an unsuitable reference point for any Constitutional discussions.

The third group – a mixture of Māori, Pasifika and Pākehā, argues that the Treaty is an inviolable document, the founding document of this land and one that is not only worthy of annual commemoration but one that needs to be at the centre of any Constitutional formulation. This position is exemplified by the Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson, who says: ‘The Constitution needs to fall out of the Treaty, not the other way around’. In other words the Treaty is the cornerstone from which any talks on the Constitution should proceed.  To use an analogy from te ao Māori, Te Tiriti is the tuakana, and the Constitution is the teina – the Constitution is the younger sibling that needs to acknowledge the Treaty’s elder status.

In my view the third group is on solid ground, for reasons that I shall explore in future posts. This February 6th, with many others, I shall make the annual pilgrimage to Waitangi to engage with ‘the elephant’ kanohi ki te kanohi. I look forward to hearing its sound. Perhaps I shall see you there!

Alistair Reese

History is Now

... A people without history 
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern  
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails  
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel 
History is now and England.

T.S.Eliot, 'Little Gidding', The Four Quartets.

I grew up just down the road from Burtt Rd on the northern outskirts of Pukekohe (a town now on the southern outskirts of the City of Auckland). This fact has not struck me as important until quite recently, when I discovered that in the vicinity of Burtt Rd, at Burtt’s farm, an encounter between Maori and Pakeha settlers took place in September 1863. This was about the closest the Waikato war of 1863-64 got to Auckland. Just down the road from my place, where my parents, grandparents and uncles and aunties still live, Maori and Pakeha skirmished in a fairly minor affray of the New Zealand Wars. A minor affray, perhaps, but part of the drama that unfolded when Governor Grey gave the order for troops to cross the Mangatawhiri stream in July 1863, sparking the conflict with the King Movement that took many hundreds of lives over the two years that followed. Confiscations of prime Waikato real estate followed. The New Zealand Government or Crown only came to terms with this history in 1995 when it settled with Waikato-Tainui.

Von Tempsky – Attack on Burtts’ Farm in 1863 Hocken Library, University of Otago. Reference: 12,513

But has New Zealand society come to terms with it? The year 2014 has just closed. It marked the 150 year commemorations of many of the key conflicts of the Waikato war, and thus the NZ Wars, still to see many 150 year battle commemorations over the next few years. Yet have we, as a society, remembered these foundational conflicts in our national story? Hardly. Maori media covered the series of commemorations, but Pakeha media to my knowledge was almost silent.

It betrays a serious lack of engagement with our story that wider NZ society, Pakeha society in particular, has not turned up to remember these conflicts. As it stands, Pakeha collective memory really only reaches as far as Gallipoli and WW1/2. The nineteenth century foundations of modern NZ are like a void for most NZers. How tragic.

It was not always like this. Historian Dr Vincent O’Malley recently gave a lecture that recalled the history of NZ Wars commemorations. The 50th and 100th commemorations were largely led by Pakeha  communities – when the storyline was still couched in the semi-comfortable terms of a conflict with the brave and noble Maori (who we nevertheless beat) that somehow brought us together. By contrast, the 150th Waikato war commemorations have been led mostly by Maori.

Something needs to change. Aotearoa NZ’s case of historical amnesia needs some major psychiatric treatment before we become a people truly in sync with both the good and bad realities of our national story. Of course, there is no one ‘national story’ – both the nation and a singular story are constructs. But how we construct that story, or how we remember who we are, is an interesting reflection of how we’re living out the realities of our past in our present. The past is not ‘the past’ – it is not something other than, separate from, our present.

This is a blog about how history is now. T.S. Elliot got it right for England. But where and how can history be now and New Zealand?

If you’re interested you can read an old account of the Burtt’s farm encounter here: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cow01NewZ-c30-1.html

Samuel Carpenter