Treaty flows, Alex Calder

Treaty of Waitangi: The Land is Our History: Indigeneity, Law, and the Settler State 
Miranda Johnson
Oxford University Press, $41.00,
ISBN 9780190600020

Reconciliation, Representation and Indigeneity: “Biculturalism” in Aotearoa New Zealand  
Peter Adds, Brigitte Bönish-Brednich,
Richard S Hill, Graeme Whimp (eds)
Universitätsverlag, $70.00,
ISBN 9783825366193

As a child, waiting at the bus-stop on a rainy day could be enlivened by launching an ice-block stick into the fast-running gutter and following its progress as it caught on litter, rotated in an eddy, then darted through rapids all the way to the drain, down which it went, on an uncertain path to the sea. The fortunes of my Fru-ju stick are not unlike those of any long-standing Māori grievance, through courts and tribunals over the century and more, in which the Treaty of Waitangi has been a “simple nullity”, a “fraud”, then a “founding document”, through hearings, reports, submissions, fiscal envelopes, injunctions and negotiations, to arrive, at last, as a deed of settlement signed between Crown and iwi. It is not a story of incremental progress. After decades of persistence in the face of impediments and groundings, an unusual conjunction of circumstances in the 1990s allowed the waka reconciliation to rush forward as if double-sixes had been thrown in a board-game.

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