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Waitangi Treaty History: Intentions, Expected and Results Essay


Treaty of Waitangi: Intentions, Expected Outcomes and Results

The history of the Treaty of Waitangi is quite peculiar. Signed on February, 6, in 1840, it was supposed to signify the recognition of the rights of the Māori people to own the land of New Zealand, as well as the acceptance of Europe and the USA of the fact that the Māori people are a nation (Barrett, 1988).

Claiming that signing the Treaty of Waitangi was a very easy and fast process would be quite a stretch – Great Britain could not afford losing such a huge and quite promising subject. As a result, the treaty was a compromise between the government of Great Nritain and that of the Māori nation. The latter were credited with the status of the subjects of Great Britain, with a British governor at the helm and the right to own the land (Barrett, 1988).

The intentions of both sides were quite understandable. The Māori nation was willing to finally have their state recognized as such by the rest of the countries and be allowed into the global politics and economy.

Great Britain, in its turn, wished to retain its control over New Zealand in general and the Māori’s economy and politics in particular (Barrett, 1988). However, by far the most significant outcome of the Treaty concerns the Māori healthcare. The Treaty outlined the key principles of the Māori healthcare strategy and, in all seriousness, can be considered the first Māori healthcare strategy (Barrett, 1998).

Breaches of the Treaty: An Ongoing and Unceasing Process

It is quite remarkable that the key principles of the Treaty have been disregarded since the moment that it was signed. Indeed, according to the existing information, the government of the state has been neglecting the basic postulates of the Treaty “almost from the time it was signed in 1840” (Hill, 2013).

Importance of education, state of Māori education, factors that influence Māori education

The education principles adopted in the Māori culture are quite peculiar. True, the effects of globalization have had their toll on the Māori culture and, therefore, have shaped the state’s education system towards the one that is more common for Europe and the United States; however, the key features of the Māori education methods and the culture of education in general still persist, both hindering the introduction of a more progressing strategy and allowing to retain the unique Māori culture and vision.

It would be wrong to claim that the Māori people have a wrong idea of education – quite on the contrary, the importance of education in the Māori culture has obviously been emphasized. Nevertheless, some of its elements obviously conflict with the traditional principles of the western education system. To be more exact, the Māori education system presupposes that the Kaupapa Māori paradigm (Ruhwui, 2009) should be included into the process of learning.

The aforementioned principle is currently the fundamental of the Māori education system: “A kaupapa Māori paradigm is identified as a challenge to mainstream Western academy as a source of knowledge production and cultural capital” (Ruhwui, 2009, p. 73). While the principle in question has been included into the Māori education system for decades, it seems to be ousted out of the XXI century education paradigm due to the influence of the Western education patterns.

The dilemma between the choice of the traditional Kaupapa Māori paradigm and the one that is being suggested to the Māoripeople at present is truly complicated. On the one hand, it is crucial to develop new approaches, which will help students master new material better; on the other hand, it is essential that the basics of the Māori culture should remain within the local education system, which is hardly possible with the introduction of teh European model in accordance with the Treaty (Ruhwui, 2009).

Current Health Issues and Māori Health Related Developments

The current health issues, which the Māori people are especially subjected to developing, are, unfortunately, quite numerous. Heart disorders and the related problems seem to be most numerous, according to the official statistics. According to the key statements listed in the Treaty, the Māori people could finally introduce health promotion and enhancement of the healthcare evolution so that the death and disease rates could be brought down (Durie, 1994).

Significance and state of Māori Education: Analysis

Though the connection between education and health may not seem apparent at first, in fact, there is quite a tangible link between the two. Indeed, considering the concept of education and the phenomenon of health closer, one will have to admit that the state of one’s health depends on knowledge considerably.

First and most important, high quality education allows for acquiring vast and the latest information concerning disease prevention strategies, the tools for addressing various disorders, the access towards the latest researches on the issue, etc., as well as the provision of adequate and competent services to the patients. The key principles of lifelong learning could be promoted to students (Gong, 2013).

In addition, general education provides enough knowledge and skills to prevent the contraction of diseases. More to the point, general education allows an average person to define the key symptoms of common diseases and, therefore, visit the doctor at the earliest stage of the disease or disorder development.

How the Treaty of Waitangi Had Impacted Māori Education in a Negative Way

Educational institutions adapt a “one-fit-all” system, ignoring cultural differences (Gong, 2013, p. 2). As a result, the uniqueness of the Māori culture suffers. More to the point, the assimilation of the Māori culture and the ones of the U.S. and Europe takes place at a much faster pace, thus, contributing to an even faster downfall of the unique Māori culture.

It should also be kept in mind that in the realm of an entirely different culture and being forced to study using an entirely new language, students are most likely to experience considerable difficulties when transferring from one language to another.

Navigating between the Māori and the English languages is rather difficult for inexperienced students; the procedure of code-switching must be supervised by competent teachers and taken into account when creating lesson plans. Since it is quite problematic to find the staff members that are competent in the specified area, it can be assumed that the students will have little to no chances for learning efficiently (Sert, 2005).

How the Treaty of Waitangi Had Impacted Māori Education in a Positive Way

It would be wrong, however, to claim that the education system of Māori has only suffered major losses from the introduction of the treaty into the system of the state legislation. Apart from causing major complexities related to the conflict between the English guidelines and the Māori language, the Treaty has also led to certain improvements in the education system of the state.

First and most important, the innovations allowed for placing the current nursing practices into the context of the Māori alternative medicine context, therefore, linking the two cultures and providing the Māori students with a chance to incorporate the advances of the European and American medicine together with the time honoured and time tested health and nursing practice accepted in the Māori culture:

Thirdly, while links are made between the Treaty of Waitangi and cultural safety, the Treaty informs students about Maori health and nursing practice. Kawa whakaruruhau (cultural safety within the Maori context) is an inherent component of Maori health and nursing, especially in its contribution to the achievement of positive health outcomes. (Nursing Council of New Zealand, 2005, p. 3)

Unfortunately, the number of improvements is very little. It should be kept in mind that Māori had the highest participant rate in tertiary education, yet the participation levels dropped after the scholarship stopped. Therefore, the reconstruction of the education system should have been carried out in a much more careful and better thought out way (Strategic direction for Māori health, 2014).

Conclusion: What Could and Should Be Done

Education plays a vital role as a determinant for positive health development in Māori. As a population group, Māori have the poorest health status in Aotearoa/New Zealand (Ministry of Health, 2014). The Treaty of Waitangi has the potential to become a framework for Māori health development, but is often overlooked. This essay looks at the impact and implementation of the Treaty of Waitangi in health outcomes, focusing particularly on the importance of education as a determinant of success in Māori health.

On the 6th of February 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was entered into as a means to address and resolve the issues surrounding that time. Concerns were raised over the drastic decline in the Māori population due to the introduction of new disease, as well as the intertribal Musket Wars. Unruly behaviour from the trader-settlers had also caused arising fear that the country was becoming a lawless land (Naumann, 2002).

Māori viewed the Treaty as a way of bringing about peace and establishing strong relationship between Māori and the increasing numbers of non-Māori. However, there were mistranslations in the Māori version of the Treaty. While, in Article One, the English version stated that the chiefs would give the Queen “sovereignty,” the Māori version used the word “kawangatanga,” viewed by the chiefs as essentially governorship.

In the aftermath of the signing, the Treaty was often heavily dismissed by the Crown, believing it was never ratified and therefore carried no legal authority. By 1877, the obligations entered under the Treaty had been ignored to the point where Chief Justice Sir James Prendergast (1877) deemed it “worthless and a “simple nullity.” This lengthy disregard of the Treaty obligations further increased the inequity gap between Māori and non-Māori, as health and educational issues (among many others) were not addressed.

By doing so, the Crown was performing a breach of Article Three of the Treaty which states “In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.”

The major point of this article was to establish equality between Māori and non-Māori, as much as it was about citizenship (Durie, 1994). Therefore, if there are inequity gaps, the Crown has an obligation to address these disparities to the best of its current capability (Barrett, Stone, & Kokiri, 1998).

Education is a vital vehicle for success in life. In order to gain employment to secure income, the appropriate education is required. However, the access to that education must be given by the government, who handles these decisions. Although Article Three suggests that Māori are given the same rights as British subjects, there are significant differences between Māori and non-Māori students in the education environment.

In 2005 Māori secondary school students were more than twice as likely as non-Māori students to be granted early-leaving exemption (13% compared to 5%), three times more likely to be suspended from school, and twice as likely to have left school by age 16 (Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga, 2006).

Statistics from the Ministry of Education (2014) shows that in 2009, 48 percent of Māori students in year 11 gained an NCEA qualification at level one or above, compared to 69 percent of non-Māori. 29 percent of Māori studentsattained University Entrance (UE), compared to 54 percent of non-Māori students (Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga, 2006).

Educational qualifications have become an increasing factor in employment (Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga, 2006), which in turn affects occupational status and income. (Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga, 2006) has emphasised the important link between income earnings and health status, where those with poorer income earnings suffer from poorer health. The lower health outcomes in turn affect education (attendance rates, learning disabilities), and so it becomes a viscous cycle started by educational disadvantages that are not addressed by the Crown.

The present-day statistics of Māori position within the educational concern is a result of the influence of a variety of factors stemming from the Treaty breaches, which have been made by the Crown since it was first implemented. In 1867, the Native Schools Act was passed with the intent of assimilating and “civilising” Māori, and was viewed as a way to eradicate the native language and culture between generations (Ka’ai, Moorfield, Reilly, & Mosley, 2004).

Reference List

Barrett, M. (1998). The Treaty of Waitangi and social policy. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 11, 1-18.

Durie, M. (1994). Whaiora: Māori health development. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Gong, L. (2013). Technicality, humanity and spirituality – 3-dimensional proactive library service toward lifelong learning. Web.

Hill, R. S. (2013). Ngā whakataunga tiriti – Treaty of Waitangi settlement process. In R. S. Hill, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Web.

Ka’ai, T. M., Moorfield, J. C., Reilly, M. P. J., & Mosley, S. (2004). Ki te whaiao: an introduction to Māori culture and society. Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson Education.

Naumann, R. (2002). Our Treaty: The Treaty of Waitangi 1840 to the present. Auckland, New Zealand: New House Publishers, Ltd.

Nursing Council of New Zealand (2005). Guidelines for cultural safety, the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori health in nursing education and practice. Wellington, NZ: Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Ruhwui, D. (2009).The sleeping Taniwha: Exploring the practical utility of Kaupapa Māori in firm performance. Dunedin, New Zealand: The University of Otago.

Sert, O. (2005). . The Internet TESL Journal, 11(8), para. 1–6. Web.

. (2014). Web.

Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga (2006). . Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Waitangi Treaty History: Intentions, Expected and Results'. 8 April.

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