The Treaty Debates

2008 – Finding common ground

The 2008 Treaty Debates aim to provide a fresh way of looking at the Treaty and its role in our history, focusing on the way in which we can find common ground in an area of national discussion which is often riven with conflict.

Chaired by historian Dr Claudia Orange and law lecturer Dr Claudia Geiringer.

Treaty Debate 1 (2008)

9:06 PM.Professor Mason Durie (Professor of Maori Research and Development & Deputy Vice-Chancellor Maori at Massey University) considers that the Treaty has become embedded in the life of the nation, contributing to a spectacular transformation of our society in recent decades. He also argues that it has assumed the role of reflecting how New Zealand values its indigenous people and their participation in society.

Dr Matthew Palmer (former Dean of Victoria University of Wellington's Law School and 2005 International Research Fellow of the New Zealand Law Foundation) puts forward the case that as uncertainty is inherent in the meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi, it would be worth stabilizing its legal and constitutional place by giving its principles the status of ordinary law for the future, judged by ordinary courts.

Treaty Debate 2 (2008)

12:00 PM.Dr Charles Royal sets out a provocative argument that in the future, all New Zealanders will be able to define themselves as tangata whenua.

Race relations commissioner Joris De Bres explores why race relations are of less concern than they were a few years ago, and lays out the detail of a statement - which his office was then about to issue - defining a set of core positions on indigeneity and cultural diversity.