In correspondence to the Treaty of Waitangi celebrations February 6, 2015, I asked three key questions that related to 1) politics, 2) immigration and 3) education (see previous post). The following results of those polls are given below:
In the first poll, it was found that 100% of voters agreed that “politicians should swear an oath to the Treaty of Waitangi as an official part of parliamentary procedures” or at least draft a statement that would be infused into the law of oath taking. As the founding document of Aotearoa between two nations, it is surprisingly suspicious that this has not yet been the case since the signing in Waitangi, 1840. Currently, the Oaths of Allegiance and, in particularly, the House of Representative Oaths are noticeably short worded and requires one to pay homage only to the Queen of England according to law (What law?). However, there is no reference to the Treaty of Waitangi in any of these documents and begs the question – why? A point in case, Hone Harawira, leader of the Mana Party, was ejected out of parliament for this very cause, like a man being force to acknowledge the existence of an unseen God but is void of faith to believe that is so seems to defeat the purpose of pledging an allegiance in the first place (see news article here). I believe that the treaty must be drafted into the legal process of oath taking because as it currently stands it seems to acknowledge the identity and sovereignty of only one nation when the treaty is, in reality, about two. In the second poll, it was found that 100% of the votes showed that “immigrants & refugees seeking citizenship in Aotearoa should learn about and then pledge an allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi”. This should be a mandatory requirement out of respect for both the content of the treaty and tangata whenua to whom it refers. If immigrants and refugees are ever to be educated about the significance of the treaty document, even if for a brief moment’, then the first class surely must take place during the oath of allegiance when swearing in new citizens to Aotearoa. This is long overdue and likely to be the topic of much future debate. Finally, the last poll indicated that 86% agreed and 14% disagreed that “the history of the Crown (representatives of the Queen of England) should be a required subject in mainstream education including the history of the Treaty of Waitangi”. It only makes sense that these subjects play a critical role in the curriculum of mainstream and indigenous education. After all, the issues that I have raised here are inseperably interwoven into the complex tapestry of these two histories and, therefore, will reflect the true history of Aotearoa/New Zealand, which cannot be ignored. Ignorance is not bliss. Waitangi enjoyed a peaceful day this year, perhaps a sign of better things and changes to come.
Please feel free to leave a comment below.
The polls are now closed.