19 Aug 2010

Dame Anne Salmond backs Ngapuhi sovereignty claim

12:21 pm on 19 August 2010

An eminent historian has endorsed the long-held belief of Northland's Ngapuhi people that they did not cede sovereignty when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

Dame Anne Salmond has given evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal in its investigation of Ngapuhi grievances involving the Treaty.

Ngapuhi say the Maori language document they signed is the only valid treaty, and that in it, they ceded to the Queen kawanatanga (right to govern) but not the right to usurp their ultimate authority.

Dame Anne Salmond has supported that, saying in her evidence that kawanatanga was not an accurate or even plausible translation of sovereignty - the word used in the English draft.

She says it therefore fails the test of securing the free and intelligent consent of the rangatira to the cession of sovereignty to Queen Victoria.

Dame Anne says the treaty preamble says the Queen was sending a mediator to control the lawless whites who had arrived, and that in signing it the chiefs were agreeing to accept her governor.

The chairman of the Ngapuhi runanga, Sonny Tau, says at last a Pakeha scholar has confirmed what Ngapuhi have been saying all along.