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Waitangi: Maori & Pakeha Perspectives of the Treaty of Waitangi
Edited by I.H. Kawharu

Only a year or two after its signing, it was described by a New Zealand Company official as 'a praiseworthy device for pacifying the natives at the moment'. In 1877, Chief justice Prendergast called it 'a simple nullity'. For almost a century it existed in a sort of judicial limbo. But recently the Treaty of Waitangi has begun to be recognized for what it is: a treaty of cession that the President of the Court of Appeal has regarded as a still valid compact of mutual obligation.

This collection of essays attempts to answer these questions. Those in Part One discuss aspects of the legal and historical significance of the gaining of sovereignty over New Zealand by the Crown. Those in Part Two, on the other hand, are studies of Maori reaction to the guarantees given by the Crown to protect their 'rangatiratanga' – their tribally based heritage and identity.

This book is a collection of essays edited by Professor I. H. Kawharu of the Department of Maori Studies at Auckland University. The book is an outcome of the recent resurgence of interest in the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand, and certainly represents the most scholarly and comprehensive to appear so far. The book is divided into two parts of six essays each; the authors of part 1 being Pakeha and part 2 Maori. With two exceptions, all of the authors are currently academics; seven are from the University of Auckland. The range of disciplines to which the authors belong include Maori studies, history and law. A selection of some of the essays will give a sense of the range and flavour of the collection; F.M. Brookfield, "The New Zealand Constitution: the search for legitimacy", P.G. McHugh, "Constitutional Theory and Maori Claims", Waerete Norman, "The Muriwhenu Claim", R.J. Walker, "The Treaty of Waitangi as the focus of Maori Protest", M.H. Durie, "The Treaty of Waitangi - Perspectives on Social Policy".


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