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Encyclopedia > Treaty of Waitangi Act
Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975
Parliament of New Zealand
Image:Coat of arms of New Zealand.png
Long title: An act to provide for the observance, and confirmation, of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by establishing a Tribunal to make recommendations on claims relating to the practical application of the Treaty and to determine whether certain matters are inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty.
Introduced by: Matiu Rata
Dates
Date passed: 1975
Date of Royal Assent: 10 October 1975
Commencement: Immediate
Other legislation
Amendments: 1985, 1988 (twice), 1993, 2006
Related legislation: State Owned Enterprises Act 1986
Status: Current legislation

The Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 established the Waitangi Tribunal and gave the Treaty of Waitangi recognition in New Zealand law for the first time. The Tribunal was empowered to investigate possible breaches of the Treaty by the New Zealand government or any state-controlled body, occurring after 1975. It was also empowered to recommend, but not enforce, remedies. The Parliament of New Zealand consists of the Queen of New Zealand and the New Zealand House of Representatives and, until 1951, the New Zealand Legislative Council. ... Image File history File links Coat_of_arms_of_New_Zealand. ... The long title (properly, the title) is one of the parts, together with the short title, and the operative provisions (sections and Schedules), which comprise an Act of Parliament or Bill in the United Kingdom and certain other Commonwealth Realms. ... Matiu Rata was a New Zealand Māori politician who was Minister of Lands and Minister of Maori Affairs in the Third Labour Government of New Zealand between 1972 and 1975. ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday. ... // The granting of Royal Assent is the formal method by which a constitutional monarch completes the legislative process of lawmaking by formally assenting to an Act of Parliament. ... The Waitangi Tribunal is a New Zealand court empowered to compensate Maori people for land obtained by fraud or by force since 1840. ... The Original Treaty The Treaty of Waitangi (Māori: Te Tiriti o Waitangi) was signed on February 6, 1840 at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. ...


Although the Treaty had been a focus of Māori protest for several years by 1975, many Māori were unhappy with the Act. Most of the significant breaches of the Treaty, such as land confiscation in the New Zealand Wars, had occurred in the nineteenth century, and the Tribunal was powerless to investigate these. Some Pākehā, including many in the National Party opposition, opposed the Act on the grounds that it would be divisive. Languages Māori, English Religions Māori religion, Christianity Related ethnic groups other Polynesian peoples, Austronesian peoples The word Māori refers to the indigenous people of New Zealand and their language. ... The Māori Wars, now more commonly being referred to as The Land Wars and also as the New Zealand Wars, refers to a series of conflicts that happened in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. ... Pākehā is a term generally used to describe New Zealanders of Anglo/European extraction, but some Māori may use it to refer to any non-Māori person. ... The New Zealand National Party (National or the Nats) currently forms the second-largest (in terms of seats) political party represented in the New Zealand Parliament, and thus functions as the core of the parliamentary Opposition. ...

Contents

1985 Amendment

This enabled the Tribunal to investigate claims dating back to 1840, when the Treaty was signed. It also enlarged the Tribunal's membership to enable it to handle the increased number of claims. It also required the Tribunal to have a Māori majority. The Waitangi Tribunal is a New Zealand court empowered to compensate Maori people for land obtained by fraud or by force since 1840. ... Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements have been a significant feature of New Zealand race relations and politics since 1975. ...


The 1985 amendment considerably broadened the scope of the Tribunal's inquiries and led to ongoing debate over the appropriate response by the Crown to the findings and recommendations of the Tribunal (see Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements). It was part of the Fourth Labour government's policy of giving greater acknowledgment to the Treaty, as was the inclusion of references to the Treaty in other legislation, such as the State Owned Enterprises Act. This amendment was one of the most important steps towards making the Treaty relevant in New Zealand law and society. Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements have been a significant feature of New Zealand race relations and politics since 1975. ... The Fourth Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 26 July 1984 to 2 November 1990. ...


1988 Amendment

This further expanded the Tribunal's membership and abolished the requirement for a Māori majority. It also enabled different groups of Tribunal members to investigate different claims simultaneously.


1988 Amendment (State Enterprises)

This amendment came about following a court case in which the government was found to be ignoring the principles of the Treaty by attempting to sell state-owned land which might be subject to Treaty claims.[1] The amendment enabled covenants to be placed on such land stating that it might be claimed back by the Tribunal, even if in private hands. It also gave the Tribunal the power to compulsorily acquire such land. This is the only instance in which the Tribunal is able to issue legally binding orders.


1993 Amendment

This amendment came about following the controversial recommendation in the Waitangi Tribunal's Te Roroa Report [1] that the Crown purchase an area of private land for return to claimants in a settlement. The owners of the land argued that the recommendation devalued their properties. The amendment prohibits the Tribunal from recommending the return or purchase by the Crown of any private land, other than that covered by the covenants noted above.


2006 Amendment (Maori Purposes Bill)

This amends section 6 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act to set a closing date of 1 September 2008 for submitting historical Treaty claims, defined as those relating to acts or omissions of the Crown prior to 21 September 1992. It allows existing claims to be amended and does not affect the settlement of historical claims that have already been lodged, or the ability to lodge claims relating to grievances relating to acts or omissions after September 1992.


Other amendments

Legislation implementing various historical Treaty settlements amends section 6 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act to exclude the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal from further considering the historical claims of the group receiving the settlement. Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements have been a significant feature of New Zealand race relations and politics since 1975. ...


Debates

  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.395 (1974), pp.5795-9.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.401 (1975), pp.4342-6, 4495-500.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.402 (1975), pp.5406-8.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.460 (1984-85), pp.2702-13, 6059-83, 8626-31.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.485 (1987), pp.1715-34.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.488 (1988), pp.3970-81, 4017-28.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.489 (1988), pp.4560-86, 4775-91.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.492 (1988), pp.6611-16.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.494 (1988), pp.7927-33, 8217-24.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.495 (1988), pp.8525-35, 8861-72.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.632 (2006), pp.3951-69.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates vol.636 (2006), pp.6965-84, 7021-33.

References

  1. ^ NZ Maori Council v Attorney General (1987), generally known as the 'SOE case'. See Treaty_of_Waitangi#Is_the_Treaty_binding_on_the_Crown.3F.

 
 

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