Te Tiriti o Waitangi & NCWNZ

Aleisha Amohia, LinkedIn profile picture, 2022At the NCWNZ Conference 2022, Aleisha Amohia, NCWNZ Wellington Branch President (photo at right), presented an "Introduction to Te Tiriti o Waitangi" workshop. The workshop aimed to introduce Te Tiriti through a brief teaching of its history and articles, and offer a discussion for attendees to understand how it could be applied to our lives and mahi. Download the slides (.pdf file) here. Please contact Aleisha Amohia and/or Ashlee Metcalfe at [email protected] before sharing the slides with anyone else.

This session was in line with NCWNZ policy passed in 2018 to acknowledge and honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi:

2.11.3 That NCWNZ is committed to the rights and obligations articulated in Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding documents of Aotearoa. NCWNZ demonstrates a visible and tangible commitment to honouring the tikanga of tangata whenua and ensuring the fulfilment of rights and responsibilities of both Tiriti partners.

The text from the slides is reproduced below.


Article One - Kāwanatanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Kāwanatanga is a nominal and delegated authority that gave the queen control of her people. Article One confirms that Rangatira (Chiefs) agreed to the British having a Governor to exercise Kāwanatanga over British people.

The right to govern is qualified by an obligation to protect Māori interests.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Ensuring NCWNZ embraces te reo Māori and tikanga Māori, so that NCWNZ spaces reflect the bicultural foundation of Aotearoa.

Partnering with Māori organisations, such as Māori Women's Welfare League, to ensure there is more wāhine Māori input into our decisions and submissions.

Building up membership at NCWNZ so there are more to share the load, to prevent our Māori members (and members representing other minority groups) from being overworked.

Co-governance in the form of a Māori Co-President on the Board.

Article Two - Tino Rangatiratanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Tino Rangatiratanga is understood to mean absolute authority over lands, settlements and all that was and is valuable to Māori (taonga).

It is self-determination - the right to exerise authority in respect to one's own affairs.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Being inclusive of Māori in our membership, including inviting representation from Māori Women's Welfare League.

Continuing to grow our understanding, as a collective and as individual members, of Aotearoa's history and issues relating to Māori. Identifying opportunities to learn and amplify the voices of wāhine Māori and Māori groups.

Article Three - Ōritetanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Ōritetanga means equity. The Crown promised to Māori the benefits of royal protection and full citizenship. This article guarantees equity between Māori and all New Zealand peoples.

As long as socio-economic disparities remain for Māori, we have not fulfilled the obligations of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Acknowledging the many systemic and structural inequities that exist for Māori, and acknowledging we have a role to play in correcting them. Starts with NCWNZ walking the walk, and making real progress on that policy we made in 2018.

Employing systems and references in every NCWNZ process, document and policy that creates space for our Indigenous members to embrace ancestral practices and mātauranga Māori.

Fostering a safe space to learn from mistakes, educate each other, and do better. Tāngata Tiriti members stepping up to support and share the burden placed on Māori members to do this mahi.

Creating and sharing tangible resources, tools, and information, so Branches can make progress locally. Developing success criteria so we can measure our progress.

Being open to implementing tikanga Māori etc., such as referring to the Māori lunar calendar (maramataka), using karakia and te reo Māori, more waiata, kai at hui, storytelling and discussion.

Article Four - Wairuatanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Wairuatanga is spirituality.

The failure to engage with wairuatanga also represents a potential breach of Te Tiriti, which guarantees religious freedom in the broad sense - requiring our recognition and respect for Indigenous principles, and willingness to uphold and support Indigenous practices.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Gaining deeper understandings of the socio-political context and the impacts of intergenerational trauma and colonisation on Māori. Spending more time at Branch Meetings discussing this.

Actively listening and proactively learning.

Doing karakia, and discussing what it means.

Recognising there are different kinds of spirituality and encouraging members to embrace whatever that might mean for them.

Getting to know each other better, understanding where our members come from.

Next steps

As tāngata whenua and tāngata tiriti, we all have a role to play to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi. To truly achieve gender equity in Aotearoa, NCWNZ must acknowledge and honour the document that allowed us all to be here, at all stages of our movement.

NCWNZ members have an opportunity now to take what they’ve learned about Te Tiriti and begin applying it in their Branches, in their workplaces, and in their lives.

Further learning


To read more articles from The Circular (issue 636), click on the tag below.

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