Monday, September 26

New Zealand’s Maori party calls for a ‘divorce’ from the British royal family | New Zealand


The New Zealand Maori Party has called for a “divorce” from the crown and the removal of the British royal family as New Zealand’s head of state.

The call came on the 182nd anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, or Te Tiriti or Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding legal document.

“If you look at our founding pact as a marriage between tangata whenua [indigenous people] and the crown, then Te Tiriti He is the son of that marriage. Is the time [for] tangata whenua to take full custody,” said Rawiri Waititi, Māori Pāti co-leader. “This does not mean that the crown is off the hook. If a couple divorces, you don’t lose responsibility for your child. This will be an opportunity to reimagine a more meaningful and fulfilling partnership,” he said.

The treaty guaranteed the Maori crown protection of their land rights. But in the 100 years that followed its signing, Maori lost more than 90% of their land through a combination of outright confiscation by the crown, private or government sales, and judicial land practices that did not recognize collective ownership. .

Previous pushes for New Zealand to become a republic have struggled to gain momentum. polling from Colmar Brunton in 2021 found that a third of New Zealanders wanted to cut ties with the monarchy, while 47% did not and 20% did not know.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she is a Republican, saying in 2021 that she believed New Zealand would become a republic in her lifetime, but would not act on it during her term. Speaking about Governor General Cindy Kiro’s announcement, Ella Ardern said she had “never felt the urgency” from the public to make it happen. “I have made it very clear that despite being a Republican, I am not of the opinion that in the here and now… this is something that New Zealanders feel particularly strongly about,” she said.

“I don’t know if a single person has generally raised the issue of becoming a republic with me on a day-to-day basis. This government has prioritized those issues that we do see as priorities. But I still think there will be a time and a place; I just don’t see it the way I do now.”

The call to remove the Queen as head of state is a change in policy for the Maori party, which in 2017 opposed calls for a republic within the Labor Party. “Removing the Queen as our head of state removes the Waitangi treaty and Maori rights in this country that are guaranteed to us by the founding document of our nation,” then-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said at the time. “Given our colonial history and the systematic dispossession of Maori land, rights and resources, any talk of severing ties with the Queen or establishing a republic is an extremely naive move.”

Under current leadership, the Māori party has two seats in the New Zealand parliament and is pushing for constitutional reform in New Zealand, including the establishment of a Māori parliament.

“The only way this nation can function is when Maori assert their rights to self-management, self-determination and self-government over all of our domains. Our vision is a constitutional transformation that restores the tino rangatiratanga [full sovereignty] of tangata whenua in this country,” said co-lead Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.


www.theguardian.com

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