The Treaty of Waitangi is a very important piece of New Zealand history but in saying that I have what I would call a limited knowledge of the Treaty means to New Zealand. It was something that we learnt about in primary and secondary school but it wasn’t pushed on us with much importance. Most of what I know about New Zealand history comes from watching media videos and reading articles. I have been to museums, or places similar too museums, and had to do short research projects about the Treaty of Waitangi but I have only gained basic knowledge from these.
My views on the treaty vary on the situation but in general I try to not get involved in it. Although their is one thing that recently happened that did spark a bit of emotion for me and that was Maori’s trying to claim rights to the water. I can understand that they want some of their land back, because of hardships and confusion in land boundaries, that was taken by Europeans but their is a point where it needs to stop and trying to claim that the water is theirs, is taking it a little to far in my opinion. The treaty doesn’t really stir too much emotion in me, although I do have my say every now and then but I think if I had been brought up in the North Island where there is a bigger culture of Maori people and more education around New Zealand’s history my opinion would some-what differ.
My thoughts around minority indigenous groups having the right to govern themselves is mixed. There are just as many benefits as there are negatives. Indigenous peoples views and beliefs are so different to the colonizing nations views and beliefs. This is where the native people are better at governing themselves. But problems in communication and laws arise when they mix with the colony. This was evident in New Zealand with the wars between native tribes and the British. They got along for a start because of curiosity but when that stopped the wars started. This is why the Treaty was created, to act as a middle man between there laws and beliefs and the British ones.
As the years have gone by in New Zealand the native people and the European people have mixed more so the middle man or Treaty has been pushed aside and the European laws have taken over. I think if the if the indigenous people were to still govern themselves some sort of segregation will have to be made. If the native people want to follow there own laws then they have to stay with there people and if they want to live with the Colony then they must follow there rules, and the same the other way round. Then there is the mixing of cultures and this is where a Treaty will come in. Because there will be mixing of cultures for different reasons a Treaty will have to be created and a group of people from each side come together to enforce it. A system of updating the Treaty every 10 years or so could be implemented as laws on both sides will change and so with the mixing of cultures.
As a whole a indigenous group could govern themselves but lessons learnt from the past will have to be looked at before any “treaty” is made. There are places where indigenous people govern there own groups with another nation living there and this is overlooked by the United Nations. They are effectively acting as a Treaty. What shouldn’t be forgotten is there will always be problems between Native and Colonizing people. We all know what happened in the movie Avatar, if the colony pushes there luck then expect a rebellion.