Guy Fawkes Night Launch for Minister's Book

  • Doug Graham
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

Trick or Treaty? by Hon Douglas Graham, the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, was launched tonight in the Grand Hall, Parliament Buildings, by Hon Justice David Baragwanath.

The book is the result of the month Mr Graham spent at the Rockefeller Convention and Study Centre at Bellagio in Italy earlier this year. It is published by the Institute of Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

Trick or Treaty? describes the relationship between the indigenous Maori and the settlers who made New Zealand their home.

It describes how Maori came to hold deeply held grievances against the Crown as, over time, they became largely landless and marginalised.

It discusses the obligations imposed by the Treaty of Waitangi and traces the changes in attitude to the Treaty that came about in recent years and why that happened.

Trick or Treaty? briefly considers earlier attempts to correct injustices and why they failed. It describes the reasons why the Government, acting on behalf of the Crown, finally began to address the grievances of Maori in a comprehensive and consistent way, and the difficulties that confronted each side.

It details some of the negotiations and the settlements to date as the Crown sought to heal the wounds of the past and ensure that Maori would be better able to play an important role in the future of New Zealand.

Finally, it looks ahead and debates some of the issues that the topic inevitably raises.

Mr Graham says he thinks it is appropriate to record the Government's endeavours over the past six years to address long-standing grievances of Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi.

'While the resolution of the claims is at best only half done, and normally it would be better to write an account after the task has been completed, I concluded that the work was worthwhile.

'First, it is better to record events as soon as possible after they occur to avoid distortions due to memory lapses, and second, and more importantly, there is a real need to better inform the public over grievances and why we are addressing them now and in what way.'