15 May 2010

Maori language treaty the valid one, Ngapuhi leader says

9:44 am on 15 May 2010

A Ngapuhi leader has told the Waitangi Tribunal that Europeans have fought and died to honour treaties between nations and Te Tiriti o Waitangi deserves the same level of respect.

Erima Henare, the son of the late Maori Battalion commander Sir James Henare, was on Friday making his final address in a week of hearings on the issue of sovereignty.

Mr Henare, who is also the Maori Language Commissioner, said Ngapuhi never signed away their mana or sovereignty and it is time the Crown recognised the Maori language treaty as the valid one.

He said when the chiefs declared New Zealand's sovereignty in the 1835 Declaration of Independence they owned trading ships, Hongi Hika had met King George and they knew exactly what they were signing.

Mr Henare said Te Tiriti five years later did not invalidate their authority, but reaffirmed it.