Stolen from whom?
Who does Anahera Herbert-Graves (May 14) think the Crown stole our foreshore and seabed from? If Ma¯ ori is her answer, then that is bollocks.
In 1840, under English Common Law, the F&S was managed/regulated by the Crown or democratically elected officers for the good of the general public.
The wise chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi to cede sovereignty to the Queen of England, and, in return, became British subjects in accordance with the law of the time, including common law. Therefore it follows that the F&S was vested (not stolen) in the Crown. Yes, the chiefs themselves vested the F&S in the Crown on signing the treaty.
This is further evidenced in Rev John Warren’s (who was there on the day of signing) quote: “There was a great deal of talk by the natives, principally of securing their proprietary right in the land and their personal liberty. Everything else they were only to happy to yield to the Queen, as they said repeatedly, because they knew they could only be saved from the rule of other nations (mainly the French) by sitting under the shadow of the Queen of England . . . ”
Article 2 in the Ma¯ ori language Treaty states that all the people of New Zealand (not just Ma¯ ori, but Ma¯ ori included) are guaranteed legal ownership of their land (occupied or in usage at the time), houses and ordinary property (taonga). As a consequence, any customary rights to ‘other’ resources (F&S) were extinguished by the treaty.
Lastly, since 1840, as New Zealanders, Ma¯ori have always had access to, and the enjoyment and benefits of the F&S, but recently New Zealanders have not always had access to the F&S due to activist Ma¯ ori actions, something for New Zealanders to think about in the current racist Ma¯ ori claims to our foreshore and seabed.