Stolen from whom?

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

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.



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