A rangatira is a chief, the suffix -tanga implies the quality or attributes of chieftainship, and the addition of intensifier tino in this context means the phrase can be translated as 'absolute/unqualified chieftainship'. Its closest English translation is self-determination, although many also refer to it as 'absolute sovereignty' or Maori independence. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Maori have with Papatuanuku (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous people for self determination.
In article one of the Treaty's English text the Maori signatories ceded their sovereignty to the British Crown. The Maori text of the translation used the missionary neologism 'kawanatanga' (= 'governorship') to approximate this concept. This word had been invented by Bible translators, to explain Pontius Pilate's authority in Judaea.
In article two of the Treaty, the Maori text assured the signatories that their tino rangatiratanga would remain undisturbed, along with their continued possession of their lands and other taonga.
This apparent inconsistency in the Maori text of the Treaty has led to much debate as to whether the Maori signatories intended to cede their sovereignty to the British Crown at all, and if in fact some vestigial Maori sovereignty remains.
The most critical difference revolves around the interpretation of two Māori words, kawanatanga (literally, governorship) which is ceded to the Queen in the first article and rangatiratanga (literally chieftainship) which is retained by the chiefs in the second.
Maori to retain rangatiratanga over their resources and taonga and to have all the privileges of citizenship.
The preservation of a resource base, restoration of iwi self-management, and the active protection of taonga, both material and cultural, are necessary elements of the Crown’s policy of recognising rangatiratanga.
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