New Treaty, New Tradition

Dr Carwyn Jones' new book argues that durable reconciliation can only occur if Māori legal traditions in Treaty of Waitangi settlement processes are recognised.

Combining analysis with Māori storytelling, the book explores how the resolution of historical Treaty of Waitangi claims continues to shape Māori and state legal traditions and suggests ways that indigenous legal traditions can form an important part of reconciliation processes in other parts of the world.

Dr Jones looks at the ways that governance is structured in ways that Western law has developed and can recognise.

“The very real danger for Māori and Māori legal traditions in interactions with the Treaty settlement process is that the effects may represent an ongoing colonisation of tikanga Māori rather than a healthy expression of tino rangatiratanga as part of a dynamic, living, legal culture.”

“But it need not be this way. If parties to the Treaty settlement process take these objectives seriously, and pay careful attention to changes to Māori legal traditions that take place in the context of that process, a different story can be told—a story in which Treaty settlements signify not the end of a Treaty relationship, but a new beginning.”

Dr Jones says it is not just Māori who are dealing with these issues, as indigenous peoples around the globe engage in reconciliation or transitional justice processes and the challenges of re-asserting self-determination in a postcolonial world.

“Examining the framework for the settlement of historical Treaty of Waitangi claims allows us to explore the role that all indigenous legal traditions can play in these processes.”

New Treaty, New Tradition, was published by Victoria University Press and the University of British Columbia Press, with the support of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.