The Declaration of Independence and Treaty of Waitangi were not grand historical testaments but expedients cooked up by local officials.
Hearings just started between Ngapuhi and the Waitangi Tribunal are threatening to shake New Zealand's constitution, we are told.
In this latest collision between Maori tikanga, history and principles of law, Ngapuhi want a ruling that they did not relinquish sovereignty in 1840 when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi. That sovereignty, Ngapuhi argue, was defined by the Declaration of Independence - He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga - which they signed in 1835. Hearings are expected to continue into October.
As a historian, I think these debates tell us more about how we see ...
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