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A flawed Treaty partner: The New Zealand state, local government and the politics of recognition

A awed Treaty partner: The New
Zealand state, local government
and the politics of recognition
Avril Bell
Since the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal in 1975, the key
mechanism of recognition for Māori in Aotearoa/New Zealand has
been ‘Treaty settlements’. ese settlements oer some (very limited)
compensation for historical injustices, as well as limited recognition of
tribes as political partners to the state (see, for example, Belgrave et al.
2005, Bargh 2007a, Mutu 2011, Wheen & Hayward 2012). However,
local government entities, while important actors in the lives of iwi (tribes)
and hapū (sub-tribes), are not Treaty partners and have an ambiguous role
in the lives of post-settlement1 Māori communities.
Unlike Australia, Canada or the United States of America, New Zealand’s
political system is not federal. Government is instead divided between the
central state and a range of territorially based local governance bodies,
many with overlapping jurisdictions. In simple terms, regional councils
govern the environment, their boundaries set by geographical features such
1 e idea that Māori–state relations are now largely shaped by the ‘post-settlement’ era is not
to suggest a time after settler colonialism, but to point to the large proportion of iwi and hapū who
have concluded settlements to historical Treaty claims with the Crown. In 2014, the Oce of Treaty
Settlements (OTS) reported that 72 settlements had been concluded, covering 70per cent of New
Zealand’s landmass (OTS 2014). Also see this overview of settlements to mid-2017:
as water catchment areas, while city and district councils govern the built
infrastructure, with boundaries set around population areas. en there
are unitary authorities, such as Auckland Council, which combine the
functions of regional and district/city governance. ese arms of the state
are hugely important for iwi, given the overlapping spaces ofgovernance
of iwi and local councils.
is chapter explores the current state of local government in Aotearoa/
New Zealand as a partner to Māori tribes seeking recognition for their
status as mana whenua (holders of territorial authority) and wanting
to work in partnership with government as equal and self-determining
entities. ere is a growing literature on the relationship between local
government and Māori, focusing on issues of Māori representation
(for example, Waaka 2006, Hayward 2011a, Hayward 2011b, Sullivan
& Toki 2012, Bargh 2013) and especially on partnerships between iwi
and hapū and local bodies (for example, Lewis et al. 2009), particularly
around environmental co-management and co-governance (for example,
Coombes & Hill 2005, Te Aho 2010, Lowry 2012, Muru-Lanning 2012,
Forster 2014, Bennett 2015). And as we advance into the post–Treaty
settlement era in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the possibilities and problems
of this local government relationship are coming more to the fore. Here
I explore local government relationships with iwi Māori by turning the
focus of recognition theory back on the settler state. My argument is
that, taking the arms of central and local government together, the New
Zealand state is not a t subject for recognition politics. Particularly at
a local government level, the New Zealand state suers severe historical
amnesia, and, more broadly, the New Zealand state can be characterised
as an incoherent, shape-shifting subject, enacting partnership in one
instance and not the next, and frequently guilty of insincerity, saying
onething while doing another. While the state demands specic modes
of governance and behaviour of its iwi partners, its own conduct is less
than exemplary as a partner in a politics of recognition.
e discussion is divided into three parts. e rst part provides an
overview of the Treaty settlement process as a politics of recognition
within a neoliberal context, which fundamentally shapes the relationships
between iwi and central government. e second outlines the current state
of play in the structural relationships between iwi and local government.
In the nal part of the discussion, I briey sum up the ways in which
the Crown, taking local and central government arms together, fails as
asubject of recognition politics.
Central government, neoliberalism and
the politics of recognition
At its Hegelian roots, recognition theory is about the struggle to
achieve arelationship of equals between two subjects. To recognise the
subjectivity of another is to recognise their equal and autonomous status
as self-determining people worthy of respect. e language of partnership,
which dominates the relationship of the New Zealand state and iwi
Māori, points towards this understanding; although, in practice, state–iwi
partnerships fall short of this ideal. Treaty settlements in the New Zealand
system provide limited reparation for lost lands and historical injustices.
Settlements have three components: an historical account of the Crown’s
injustices towards the people concerned and an apology for those; forms
of cultural redress, which may include renaming of signicant places, the
return of land and co-governance arrangements over public lands; and
forms of nancial redress, which may involve amonetary payment and the
transfer of property. e aim is to provide a degree of closure on historical
injustices and an economic basis for future economic development for
iwi and hapū, succinctly captured in the title of the Oce of Treaty
Settlements’ (OTS 2015) guide to Treaty claims, Healing the past, building
As in other jurisdictions, the era of recognition of Māori has coincided with
that of neoliberal politics and economics, and neoliberalism has shaped
and constrained the forms of recognition on oer. While neoliberal politics
diers across time and place, I use this term to capture three fundamental
tenets of the ideology: a belief in the supremacy and superiority of market
forms and disciplines; a concomitant mistrust of the state as an economic
and social actor; and a singular concern with the economic activities
and responsibilities of individuals (and collectives), with other spheres
of individual and community life deemed private matters, and choices
(forbrief overviews, see Bargh 2007b, Humpage 2017).2
2 Some of the variability of successive neoliberal governments in New Zealand is evident in the
diering views on ‘special rights’ for Māori, something the Labour-led governments up until 2004
were broadly in sympathy with. However, in early 2004, the then National Party leader, Don Brash,
gave a speech (commonly known as the ‘Orewa speech’) in which his attack on ‘race-based rights’
led to a surge in support for his party. Subsequently, whichever party has held political power, the
neoliberal dislike for any ‘special rights’ and provisions has been evident in their policy towards Māori.
At the same time, however, this has been held in check by the mixed-member proportional political
system and competition between the two main parties for the support of Māori voters (see Humpage
this volume, Chapter 14).
e neoliberal preference for market over state provision of services
led to policies that opened up spaces for indigenous communities to
pursue a degree of self-determination. Devolution, contracting social
service provision to private providers, enabled the development of Māori
providers contracted to deliver services to their own communities (Bargh
2007c: 36–7, Workman 2017: 180–1). In terms of marketisation,
subjecting state activities to market disciplines, the State Owned
Enterprises Act 1986, which legislated for government entities to operate
as commercial businesses (in some cases in preparation for privatisation),
created signicant opportunities for Māori groups. Section 9 of the Act,
which ruled that ‘[n]othing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in
amanner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi’,
provided an avenue for Treaty claims and court cases that resulted in the
development of Māori broadcasting systems, and in various public lands
being set aside for return in subsequent Treaty claims prior to state assets
being either privatised or marketised (see Bargh 2007c: 29–30).
e neoliberal ethos is also clear in the emphasis on Māori economic
development in Treaty settlements. As Fiona McCormack (2011: 283)
argues, ‘the spaces opened for indigeneity under neoliberalism reect
market rather than democratic rationality’, or, we might add, rather
than a distinctly Māori rationality or value base (Kelsey 2005). For the
neoliberal state, Māori economic development is in keeping with its
primary understanding of citizens as economic and market actors, with
the added pay-o that Māori economic development is expected to lessen
the Māori welfare ‘burden’. To a degree, this emphasis dovetails with
indigenous desires for sovereignty/autonomy, providing the opportunity
to achieve greater economic self-determination, to be pursued also with
the hope that economic power can be leveraged to gain greater political
self-determination (Durie 2011: 198–200). Consequently, iwi and hapū,
by and large, have taken up the opportunities on oer. For example,
the two iwi whose settlements were concluded more than 20years ago,
Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu, are now signicant economic actors both
regionally and nationally. Beyond these most prominent examples, there
are many cases nationwide where the ‘temporary alignment’ (Lewis et al.
2009: 181) between neoliberal and iwi political projects has enabled iwi
to pursue their own cultural and social, as well as economic, agendas.
At the same time, however, there are signicant problems in combining
neoliberal and indigenous political projects. To be recognised as ‘post
settlement governance entities’, iwi leadership bodies must adopt corporate
forms commensurate with neoliberal governance (Bargh2007c, Joseph
2012: 161–2). Further, the growing wealth of iwi itself, in asituation
where neoliberal economics is simultaneously impoverishing Māori
individuals and families at the other end of the class spectrum, is seen to
cause problematic divisions within the Māori world (Poata-Smith 2004).
e Crown’s focus on settling with large iwi groupings is also seen by
many as eroding the power of hapū, the more traditional bodies of Māori
governance in the precolonial era (for example, McCormack 2012). us,
in addition to growing class divides, the institution of corporate tribal
governance can have the eect of alienating hapū from iwi governance,
and alienating tribal assets from the community itself (for example,
McCormack this volume, Chapter 15, Muru-Lanning 2016). More
broadly, the political desires of iwi and hapū for meaningful political
power sharing remain largely unrecognised by the Crown (Bargh2012),
so that, overall, a number of critics argue that neoliberal state recognition
is purely colonialism in a new guise (for example, see Kelsey 2005, Bargh
2007a, Coulthard 2014).
In her overview of ‘the post-settlement world (so far)’, Maria Bargh
points to the diering expectations of Māori and the Crown regarding
Treaty settlement. As she says, Māori want to share political power via
structural changes to Aotearoa/New Zealand’s governance arrangements
in ways that incorporate tikanga Māori (Māori law) (Bargh 2012: 166).
In contrast, the Crown is interested in Māori economic development and
‘restoring the relationship between the claimant group and the Crown’ via
acknowledgement of, and partial reparation for, historical breaches of the
Treaty (OTS n.d., cited in Bargh 2012: 168). But despite the rhetoric of
‘restored’ relationships (restored to what, wemight ask), in many respects
the relationship of Crown with iwi post-settlement is more of the same
and new Treaty breaches continue to occur (for example, the foreshore
and seabed debacle in 2004).3 As Bargh asks, ‘How can a relationship
be restored when one side of the relationship, such as the Crown… is
determining the process and taking limited responsibility for changing
their fundamental attitudes, let alone their behaviour?’ (2012: 168). is
point is echoed by McCormack (this volume, Chapter 15) when she
notes that Waitangi Tribunal investigations typically leave unexamined
3 ere is an extensive literature on the racist and colonial nature of the Foreshore and Seabed Act
2004 (for example, Charters & Erueti, 2005, 2007).
the political and economic structures that produce and maintain colonial
relations. e current form of the politics of recognition then does not
really challenge the New Zealand state to reform itself.
Local government and Māori
While the central government’s relationships with iwi Māori falls short
of full partnership, those of local government are even more problematic.
e traditional rohe (territories) of hapū and iwi are obviously regionally
based. And while the boundaries of local authorities do not exactly coincide
with iwi boundaries, these government entities are extremely important
actors in the lives of iwi trying to get on with, in many cases now, their
post–Treaty settlement lives. In this context, there are at least two major
interconnected problems in the structural foundations of iwi–local
government relations: the issue of Māori political representation on local
councils and the issue of the status of local government as Treatypartners.
e issue of Māori representation has received a lot of attention in the
NewZealand media in recent times. At national level, there are currently
seven dedicated Māori seats in the parliament of 120 members, with Māori
voters having the option every ve years to enrol on either the Māori or
general electoral roll and the number of Māori seats being adjusted to
reect the proportion of the population on the Māori roll.4 Since the
Local Electoral Amendment Act 2002, local government entities have had
the option of establishing similar dedicated Māori seats on councils,
although only one, e Bay of Plenty Regional Council, has successfully
done so, establishing three Māori constituencies alongside four general
constituencies, thus ensuring fair representation for the 28per cent of the
local population who are Māori.
While many councils have considered the issue (see Human Rights
Commission 2010), very few have tried to implement Māori wards and,
to date, no others have been successful. e reasons for this failure are
telling. e Local Electoral Amendment Act 2002 stipulates a number
of ways in which local government bodies may modify their systems of
representation, but of them all, only the option of establishing Māori
wards or constituencies can be overturned by a referendum of voters,
this provision eectively acting as a democratic check on the power of
4 See
councils to enact this change. At least two councils—the Far North
District Council and Whakatane District Council—have taken the issue
straight to the voters, running polls on their electorates. In both cases,
the proposal was voted down. In New Plymouth, the council exercised
its right to establish Māori wards, only to have members of the public
make use of the provisions of the act to force a referendum on the issue.5
Pākehā Mayor of New Plymouth Andrew Judd has become a national
gure since leading this struggle for improved Māori representation in
the city’s council, and has since described the provision to establish Māori
wards as ‘not sincere’.6
When the existing local bodies were being amalgamated to form the
Auckland ‘super-city’ in 2010, the issue of Māori representation gained
high public prole. e Royal Commission on Auckland Governance,
set up to advise on the form of the new council, recommended the
establishment of three Māori seats on the council, two elected by voters
on the Māori roll and one appointed mana whenua representative to
represent the interests of local tribes (see Human Rights Commission
2010: 22–7). However, the then Minister of Local Government and
neoliberal ACT Party leader Rodney Hide was vehemently opposed to
the establishment of Māori seats (an example of undemocratic ‘special
rights’ in his view), and the compromise solution was the establishment of
an unelected Independent Māori Statutory Board to advise the council on
issues relevant to Māori. Ironically, periodic grumblings now surface about
the unelected nature of this board, with the focus being on undemocratic
Māori ‘privilege’ rather than government policy failings.
Māori individuals may of course stand for election to local bodies and some
do. Even so, as an ethnic group, Māori are ‘chronically underrepresented’
in local government, making up only 3.6per cent of councillors in 2007
for close to 15per cent of the population at the time (Hayward 2011a:
187, n. 2). In addition, these councillors, elected to general seats, are
not mandated to represent Māori per se but the community as a whole,
so that arguably Māori issues and interests are even more seriously
underrepresented within the local government sector than even these
gures suggest.
5 Councils must issue a public notice of their intention to establish Māori wards and a petition
ofat least 5per cent of the voters in the electorate can force a referendum on the issue.
6 See
- to-take-a-stand-on-Māori-representation.
While the issue of Māori representation focuses on the place and role of
Māori within councils, the issue of Treaty partnerships between councils
and iwi is one of the relationship between Māori and councils. What is the
state of the Treaty partnership in our society at this level of local government?
Reading the settlement deeds the Crown draws up with iwi and the
apologies the Crown makes, there are many ne words acknowledging
the ways the Crown has failed to recognise the rangatiratanga (chiey
authority/sovereignty) of iwi in the past, acknowledging the historical
wrongs that have been committed, and expressing the Crown’s desire to
now build new Treaty-based relationships with iwi. In these apologies, the
Crown seeks to set the history of colonial injustice in the past and commits
itself to non-colonial relations in the post-settlement era (although with
the shortcomings noted in the previous section). But where does local
government sit in these new Treaty-based relationships? What are their
responsibilities to Te Tiriti? As Janine Hayward (2011b: 79) succinctly puts
it, when the Crown devolved kawanatanga (governmental) responsibilities
to local bodies they completely failed to also devolve the Treaty guarantee
to protect tino rangatiratanga.7
Under the Local Government Act 2002, local authorities do not have the
status of a Treaty partner. Instead, they have a range of responsibilities to
involve Māori in decision-making, to take account of Māori ‘culture and
traditions with their ancestral land, water, sites, waahi tapu, [sacred sites]
valued ora and fauna, and other taonga’ and to have processes in place for
consultation with Māori. e only references to iwi and hapū appear in
Schedule 3 of the Act, which deals with the process by which councils may
seek to amalgamate to create unitary authorities. Tellingly, councils must
consult iwi and hapū if they wish to reorganise the system of governance
(although they are not bound to heed their views), but not in their day-
to-day operations. While the Crown recognises iwi (even if inadequately),
they do not oblige local government to do so. From the local government
perspective then, iwi and hapū are just convenient organisations to liaise
with to meet their obligations vis-à-vis consulting and involving Māori in
decision-making. ere is no obligation for local bodies to recognise the
territorial authority of iwi or their status as Treaty partners. Hence, while
7 Article 1 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Māori language version of the Treaty of Waitangi, i.e. the
version most Māori leaders signed) grants the right of kawanatanga (governance) to the Crown.
Article 2 recognises and conrms the ongoing rangatiratanga (chiey authority) of Māori tribal
most local councils have consultation processes in place with Māori, and
some have co-management arrangements over specic resources, these
processes fall far short of the governance partnerships that iwi are seeking.
is failure to require local authorities to act as Treaty partners is
a major aw in New Zealand’s governance arrangements and in the
Crown’s enactment of its role as Treaty partner. e New Zealand state
is eectively split into national entities with the status of Treaty partners
and regional entities without, leaving iwi caught between the ne rhetoric
of partnership in Treaty settlements and the reality of being just another
community interest group at home. e only exceptions to this are
where the economic power of the local iwi, post-settlement, is such that
they cannot be ignored—for example, Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui.
In such cases, classic neoliberal privileging of economic power, rather
than any commitment to the Treaty, drive the recognition of iwi partners
(Livesey 2017). As the Constitutional Advisory Panel (2013: 44) very
moderately observed:
Councils are under no imperative to engage with iwi and hapū. Iwi
representation, even by the creation of Māori wards, is reliant on
individual personalities within each council. It is undesirable that Māori
representation in local government continue in this ad hoc manner.
Each local authority may determine the mechanisms for fullling their
obligations to consult iwi. While this approach enables exibility to nd
a solution which ts local conditions, it means that there are considerable
dierences across the country. Such inconsistency can lead to impressions
of unfairness and inequality.
If we consider the issue of land, which is at the heart of much of the
engagement between iwi and councils, we get some sense of the problem
this split in the nature of local and central government creates for iwi.
Historically, local councils have frequently taken Māori reserve land for
public works. As academic and Waitangi Tribunal member, Ranginui
Walker (2016: 21), notes:
e pattern of local councils taking land has been so widespread and
consistent around the country that it is dicult not to conclude that
Māori land was deliberately targeted by local bodies because it was easier
and cheaper to access than general land.
But, as Walker goes on to say, given that local authorities are not partners
to the Treaty, no Treaty claims can be laid against them. is means that:
councillors are distanced from the angst of iwi caused by their exploitive
behaviour, so they never learn. Nor are they obliged to attend Waitangi
Tribunal hearings where iwi air the pain of their grievances and
disempowerment vis-a-vis local government. Consequently, local bodies
are not au fait with the Treaty discourse between iwi and the Crown (ibid.).
Overall, the picture of the local government relationship with iwi is
complex and ineective. While local councils must consult and take
cognisance of Māori interests, their legislative and structural arrangements
provide no clear guidance on how this is to be done, and in fact make
itdicult, while rendering genuine partnerships impossible.
The Crown as awed subject of recognition
e overall tenor of the critical literature on the politics of recognition
as it relates to indigenous peoples and settler states is that the power
imbalance in these relationships sets the settler state up as the recognisor
with indigenous communities in the role of recognisee, expected to reshape
themselves into recognisable forms to receive what limited provisions
the settler state is willing to oer (Povinelli 2002, Bell 2014, Coulthard
2014). As McCormack puts it (this volume, Chapter 15), contemporary
recognition politics ‘incongruously, may strengthen the capacity of the
state to shape and neutralise opposition’. e state holds at least most
of the cards in the negotiations with iwi, and indigenous communities
are, to varying degrees depending on the particulars of dierent systems,
required to establish their recognisability. Not only must they provide
evidence of their peoplehood, they must also modify their structures and
processes to meet the requirements of the neoliberal state. It is here that
critical work on recognition by the neoliberal state has pointed to the ways
in which indigenous entities have been obliged to take on capitalist and
neoliberal forms, values and processes to be ‘recognisable’ and to receive
what benets and powers the settler state is willing to oer (see Bell 2014:
149–72 for a more detailed overview).
In this nal section of the chapter, I turn the lens of judgement on the
NewZealand state, and particularly on the dierences between central
and local government outlined above, to consider whether or not the
state is a t subject for recognition politics. Does the New Zealand state
exist in a form that warrants recognition from iwi Māori? Is it capable of
recognising indigenous partners? Looking back over this brief overview,
three crucial aws are clearly evident in the subjectivity of the New
Zealand settler state as Treaty partner: the state is an incoherent, insincere
and severely amnesiac subject, unt for the politics of recognition.
e split structures and responsibilities of the New Zealand state make
it a shape-shifting, fragmented or incoherent subject when it comes to
relationships with iwi Māori. While both central and local arms of the state
can breech the Treaty, only central government can be held accountable
for such breeches. e arm of the state that iwi and hapū have the most
to do with in the day-to-day enactment of their sovereign and guardian
status in their traditional territories is not their partner in this process.
Instead, by and large, local government is a hindrance, unable to recognise
who they are. is colonial ‘business as usual’ at local government level is
a clear example of Barghs point (2012: 168) about the limited nature of
change on the part of the state.
Further, while central government acknowledges past injustices and speaks
ne words of restored relationships, it also handicaps local government
relationships with iwi Māori. As the Local Electoral Amendment Act2002
demonstrates, the gesture made towards Māori representation has proven
to be empty and ‘insincere’, open to the whim of the general electorate
where the dislike of anything deemed ‘special rights’ for Māori almost
inevitably results in any move for Māori representation in local government
being overturned.
e inability to recognise iwi and hapū for who they are is compounded
by the amnesiac nature of local councils. As Walker (2016) notes,
councils are not obliged to hear or even read the histories of Treaty
injustices perpetrated in their territories and to which they themselves
have frequently been party. is means their memory does not extend
beyond the electoral cycle and the lifetimes of the legislation that binds
their activities. Councillors in meetings with iwi leaders will more often
than not know nothing of the history of the land over which they are
empowered to exercise governance rights. How then can iwi leaders
negotiate with such amnesiac subjects as equals?
Finally, these failings of the New Zealand state point to another
major gap at the societal level in grappling with iwi sovereignty and
partnership:the lack of consideration being given to the role of tangata
Tiriti/non-Māori New Zealanders as treaty partners. Biculturalism,
despite the suggestion in the term of ‘two cultures’, has largely been about
the relationships between Māori and government, with the rest of New
Zealand society largely unengaged from the process. e referendums
overturning almost all local body attempts to institute Māori wards and
constituencies point to this wide societal ignorance of the signicance of
Māori indigenous status as a major problem New Zealand society has yet
to grapple with.
In sum, a focus on the relationship between local government and Māori
adds to our understandings of the limitations of the articulation of
neoliberalism and the politics of recognition in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Not only does neoliberalism distort recognition politics to privilege
economic structures, relations and interests over Māori sovereignty, values
and practices, but a focus on local government highlights signicant
features of the fragmentary and unreliable nature of state engagement as
a Treaty partner. Turning the gaze of recognition on the state, to look
at central and local government as parts of a whole, allows us to see the
ongoing amnesiac, incoherent and shape-shifting character of the state
that iwi and hapū must treat with.
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... There is an ever expanding literature on the relationships between Māori and local government (Bargh 2016;Hayward 2011;Ryks et al. 2010), including those focused on partnerships (Lewis et al. 2009) and environmental co-management arrangements, highlights the problematics of recognition based politics in Aotearoa (Coombes and Hil 2005;Forster 2016; Lowry and Simon-Kumar 2017; Morgan and Te Aho 2013; Muru-Lanning 2012; Te Aho 2015). Avril Bell, for instance, highlights two significant interconnected problems in the structural underpinnings of iwi-local government relations: (1) the issue of the political representation of Māori (or the lack therefore) in elected local government bodies; (2) local government not being given the status of Treaty partners (Bell 2018). At the national level, there are seven Māori seats (out of a total of 120 members of parliament), with Māori voters given the choice every five years if they enrol on the general electoral roll or the Māori roll (with the number of Māori seats adjusted to reflect how many people are on the Māori roll as a proportion of total population). ...
... In addition, while the central government by 2002 did recognise iwi (even if it was and still is inadequate), they did not place the same obligations on local government (as they were not classified as Treaty Partners). From the perspective of local government, Bell (2018) argues, hapū and iwi were simply accessible and convenient organisations to consult with to meet their duties (under the RMA and Local Government Act) vis-à-vis consulting with and involving Māori in decision-making processes. Thus, while most local authorities did possess some form of consultation processes (as demonstrated in the ODC wastewater treatment plant example) in place with iwi and hapū, these processes fell short of the Treaty governance partnerships that iwi sought. ...
... The decisions of councils and courts to oppose Māori proposals about how wastewater should be disposed of were consistently rejected on the basis that either their knowledge (mātauranga) was not scientific evidence (just spiritual or cultural beliefs) or (in situations where mātauranga and science were in agreement) the argument turned to the high financial costs of alternative approaches. Indeed, this is a familiar strategy within recognition-based approaches, noted by scholars including Bargh and Coulthard, whereby the state recognises Indigenous identities and articulates the importance of including Indigenous peoples' within frameworks (neoliberal, settler-state, co-governance) that are designed and sanctioned by the state and in doing so, other alternative social, economic, political, and ecological arrangements are excluded (Bell 2018;Coulthard 2014;McCormack 2018). ...
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In this chapter, we outline the history of water pollution in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Waipā River and its tributaries and demonstrate how environmental injustices can accumulate slowly over time. We highlight how Indigenous (Māori) and non-Indigenous (Pākehā) peoples held fundamentally different understandings of what constituted contaminated or clean water based on their different ontologies and epistemologies. We highlight how Māori people and their tikanga (laws) and mātauranga (knowledge) were excluded from settler-state water management planning processes for the majority of the twentieth century. Since 1991 new legislation (Resource Management Act) allows for Māori to participate in decision-making, however Māori values and knowledge continues to be marginalised, and Māori concerns about water pollution remain unaddressed. Accordingly, in the Waipā River environmental injustice continues to accumulate.
... Other academics, following on from the work of Coulthard, similarly demonstrate how existing neoliberalism (in Aotearoa, Australia, Canada and beyond) has influenced and constrained the forms of recognition proposed by the state as a method to address social injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples as a consequence of settler colonialism (Azmanova 2012;Bargh 2018;Bell 2018;McCormack 2018). Avril Bell, for instance, highlights how: At its Hegelian roots, recognition theory is about the struggle to achieve a relationship of equals between two subjects. ...
... To recognise the subjectivity of another is to recognise their equal and autonomous status as selfdetermining people worthy of respect. (Bell 2018) What prevails is (in the words of Jakeet Singh) "recognition from above" in which the state "is the arbiter of just and unjust claims for recognition from subordinate groups" (Singh 2014a, p. 47). Aside from deciding what types of recognition are on offer, the state also spells out the provisions of recognition. ...
... For instance, while the state may legally acknowledge Indigenous rights and identities, as a range of critical humanities and social science scholars demonstrate, those rights and identity are frequently essentialised in ways that enable the state's economic interests in the era of neoliberalism (Bargh 2018;Coombes et al. 2012;Coulthard 2014;Singh 2014bSingh , 2019. Avril Bell's examination of how local governments in Aotearoa recognise Māori provides a sharp critique of how neoliberal politics influenced and constrained the form of recognition on offer by the state (Bell 2018). She highlights how the central government of Aotearoa (the Crown) now officially recognises that Māori and the Crown are Treaty partners (as encapsulated in Aotearoa's founding document Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi), the legislation governing local government explicitly states that local authorities are not the Crown and are not Treaty partners with Māori. ...
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In this chapter we provide a broad overview of three dominant ways environmental justice is framed within the scholarship and consider how Indigenous peoples’ understanding and demands for environmental justice necessitate a decolonising approach. Despite critiques, many scholars and policymakers still conceive of environment justice through a singular approach (as distributive equity, procedural inclusion, or recognition of cultural difference). Such a narrow reading fails to appreciate the intersecting and interacting processes that underpin environmental (in)justices faced by Indigenous peoples. We argue that the theoretical discussions and empirical research into environmental (in)justice need to extend beyond Western liberal philosophies and instead consider pluralistic approach to Indigenous environment justice which is founded on Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies, which include intergenerational and more-human-human justice requirements.
... Nationwide, the pattern of local councils 'taking' Māori land using a range of mechanisms such as the Public works Act, was so far-reaching and prevalent across the country throughout the twentieth century that many scholars, ourselves included, argue it is difficult to not conclude that local government authorities (including those in the Waipā catchment) deliberately targeted Māori land because it was politically easier and financially cheaper to acquire than general land [132][133][134][135][136][137]. (Indeed, since there was a lack of Māori political representation at a local government level, substantive difficulties in participating in decision-making processes, and limited access to financial resources, few Māori landholders were able to mount successive challenges to local government actions to acquire their lands (notable exceptions include the 1977-1978 sit-in protest by Ngāti Whāuta iwi of Bastion Point/Takaparawhā and 1978 sit-in protest by Tainui hapū led by Eva Rickard of Raglan golfcourse).) ...
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This paper examines the history of settler-colonialism and how settler-colonial-led policies and projects to remake the landscapes and waterscapes of Aotearoa New Zealand resulted in the production of Indigenous environmental injustices. Underpinned by theorising on ecological justice and decolonisation, we draw on archival sources and oral histories of Māori and Pākehā (European) individuals living in a single river catchment—the Waipā River—to trace how actions to remove native vegetation, drain wetlands, introduce exotic biota, and re-engineer waterways contributed to intensifying incidence of floods. While Pākehā settlers interpreted environmental transformation as inherently positive, Indigenous Māori perceived it as profoundly negative, a form of ecological dispossession. We demonstrate that while Pākehā narrated floods as disaster events, Māori viewed colonisation as the true disaster, with floods and fires merely products of settlers’ mistreatment of the environment. Moreover, the colonial government’s efforts to control floods resulted in Māori being further alienated from and losing access to their rohe (ancestral lands and waters) and witnessing the destruction of their taonga (treasures including forests, wetlands, and sacred sites). For Māori of the Waipā catchment, flood risk management regimes were far more destructive (socially, economically and spiritually) than flood events.
... Critics accuse New Zealand politics of presenting a positive image of biculturalism on the world stage, while deflecting scrutiny from reluctant biculturalism at home: "… the New Zealand state can be characterized as an incoherent, shape-shifting subject, enacting partnership in one instance and not the next, and frequently guilty of insincerity, saying one thing while doing another." (Bell 2018) So while New Zealand retains biculturalism as a constitutional principle, Māori continue to argue for selfdetermination culturally and linguistically within a context of historically perpetuated "denial of fundamental human rights to Māori" (Mutu 2019, p.3). Biculturalism therefore continues to be a highly contested political notion in NZ, and it is no wonder that Māori reject arguments for any form of multicultural recognition that risks placing the rights of all ethnic minority groups on the same level as the hard-won political gains of Māori over 180 years of "bicultural" governance (May 2005 Secondly, the perceived notional value in multiculturalism within New Zealand suffers from the same incoherence and governmental "ritualism" as Māori-pākeha biculturalism (Te Aho, 2019). Policy has not yet translated fully into practice the expressed appreciation of NZ's multilingual and multicultural population. ...
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Despite more than 50 years of research evidencing the advantages of pedagogical approaches that include the existing language competences of plurilingual students, many education systems continue to frame the schooling of newly-arrived immigrant students in terms of linguistic deficit (Hélot and de Mejía, 2008; May, 2002). The consequences for young migrants are often forms of linguistic and academic marginalisation within education systems, that can negatively impact on schooling outcomes, resulting in exclusion from future access to higher education and its potential longer-term social advantages. This research challenges the power imbalances inherent in this problematic, by taking an “ecological systems model” approach (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) to compare key elements interacting within the educational environments of France and Aotearoa New Zealand: policies and practices of immigration, education and languages, and the effects of these on the schooling of immigrant students.At the heart of the research is a study carried out between 2017-2019 in two schools (a collège in Bordeaux and a high school in Wellington), examining the ways in which it is possible for first language competences and plurilingual repertoires to play a role in language-of-schooling learning processes, during the ‘critical transition period’ (OECD). Six case studies look at how newly-arrived plurilingual teenagers are supported in their integration processes within the two school systems. All of the 42 participating students in this study are from migrant, asylum-seeker or refugee backgrounds, which is important for the study’s findings and recommendations for teacher training for working with plurilingual immigrant students who arrive as teenagers.Two areas of key findings from this study highlight the importance of training teachers in plurilingual teaching and learning strategies for working with newly-arrived immigrant students with low proficiency in the language-of-schooling, particularly teenage “late arrivers” (after the age of 12) and asylum-seeker / refugee students with gaps in prior schooling. Firstly, findings on students’ language use in FLS / EL classes shows that students themselves use a range of plurilingual learning strategies in the language-of-schooling class context, where they are in a language-diverse community of learners and “space is allowed” for plurilingualism. In contrast, a second set of findings shows that in the monolingual context of “classes d’inclusion” (in the French school) where students have limited opportunities to manage their learning through plurilingual approaches, they tend to rely on passive learning strategies and feel isolated.Findings from both these areas quantitatively and qualitatively support the hypothesis that educational environments that allow space for plurilingual learning approaches create a platform from which to improve learning processes, engagement and construction of knowledge, there by encouraging more effective learning for newly-arrived immigrant students.
... Nevertheless, there is a small degree of domestic legal acknowledgement of the relationships of Māori with water. For instance, the Resource Management Act (RMA 1991) requires local authorities to recognise the relationships of Māori with their ancestral waterbodies (rivers, lakes, seas) and take into account kaitiakitanga (environmental guardianship exercised by Māori) when exercising their functions and powers to managing the development, use, and protection of environments (Bargh 2020;Bell 2018;Ruru 2012). However, the RMA, as we detailed in our previous chapter, only provides a limited degree of recognition to Māori interests in water, and gives them the right to be included in local government decision-making regarding management and use of water, which is to say participatory inclusion. ...
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Open Access Chapter: Access Here We explore the ways in which the formal recognition (to some extent) of Indigenous knowledge systems within environmental governance and the role of reconcilition in achieving environmental justice. We examine whether recent agreements between the New Zealand Crown (Crown) and Māori tribal groups (iwi), known as Treaty ‘settlements’, to establish shared co-governance and management over rivers encapsulate and are capable of achieving environmental justice for Māori. We draw on schoalrship on legal and ontological pluralism to consider questions of how to remedy environmental injustice and what reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples means in settler societies. Rather than seek to provide a singular definition of Indigenous environmental justice (IEJ), we instead examine how Indigenous peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand and other colonial societies are engaged in efforts to negotiate with and challenge the colonial legal orders, develop their laws, policies, and governance frameworks to achieve justice within the freshwater realm.
... The RMA does provide some possibilities for Māori to be procedurally included within freshwater governance and management by providing Māori with a platform to speak about their concerns (in consultation meetings, public hearings and submissions to local authorities). However, Māori are still only participants in public consultative planning processes that are designed and administered by the settler-colonial-state rather than Māori and do not necessarily accord to mātauranga Māori (knowledge), tikanga (laws), and kawa (ceremonies) (Bell 2018;Ruru 2012). Local governments (and if the decision is appealed, the Environmental Court) are expected to consider Māori interests and concerns (often focused on the need to prevent and/or mitigate environmental degradation) over those of other interest groups (district councils, local developers, large energy corporations, farmers) who seek to maintain existing or create new infrastructure development opportunities (Ruru 2012). ...
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In this concluding chapter, we bring together our earlier analyses of the historical and contemporary waterscapes of the Waipā River (Aotearoa New Zealand) to consider the theory and practice of Indigenous environmental justice. In this chapter, we return to review three key dimensions of environmental justice: distributive, procedural, and recognition. We summarise the efforts of one Māori tribal group (Ngāti Maniapoto) to challenge the knowledge and authority claims of the settler-colonial-state and draw attention to the pluralistic dimensions of Indigenous environmental (in)justice. Furthermore, we highlight that since settler colonialism is not a historic moment but still a ongoing reality for Indigneous peoples living settler societies it is critically important to critically evaluate theorising about and environmental justice movements through a decolonising praxis.
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Scholars, practitioners, and decision-makers are increasingly recognising that Indigenous knowledge can play a significant role in facilitating adaptation to climate change. Yet, adaptation theorising and practises remain overwhelmingly situated within Euromodern ontologies, and there remains limited space, at present, for plural ontologies or alternative ways of being and knowing. In this paper, and using the Pacific as our case study, we present an argument for the inclusion of multiple ontologies within adaptation policymaking. Pacific adaptation policies and interventions frequently privilege Western scientific knowledge and focus on addressing individual climate risks through technical fixes directed by foreign experts and funding agencies. They are also rooted in a policy architecture that is an artefact of colonisation in the region. Despite these obstacles, Pacific Islander responses to climate change are dynamic, and inclusive of the multiple and competing ontologies they work within, offering insights into how Euromodern and Pacific islander world views could coalesce to builds adaptive capacity and consolidate community resilience into the future. Highlights • Indigenous Knowledge plays a critical role in enabling resilience and facilitating climate change adaptation in some parts of Vanuatu • Ni-Vanuatu people employ dynamic responses to climate risks incorporating multiple knowledge systems and practises • Co-existence of different knowledge systems provide insights into factors that enable adaptive capacity and consolidate community resilience • Diverse worldviews, knowledge systems and practises with Pacific Island cultures highlights the importance of thinking about ontological pluralism within adaptation • Climate adaptation is principally founded on Western ontologies, but there is a need consider non-Western ontologies and epistemologies.
This paper examines Indigenous property development, drawing on research into the development of treaty settlement lands in Manitoba, Canada, and Canterbury, New Zealand. It highlights two contradicting ways of understanding this work: Indigenous peoples as self-determining, with authority to develop their own urban planning approaches, and Indigenous peoples as conventional property developers, subject to the same rules as any other private interest. This contradiction is used to expose a need for alternative, decolonial ways of understanding relationships between the ‘planner’ and the ‘planned’, grounded in the recognition of overlapping governance roles and responsibilities which Indigenous peoples are now (re)claiming in the urban environment.
The Waikato River is an important New Zealand waterway with a long history of people making claims to it, including Treaty of Waitangi claims by Māori for guardianship and ownership rights. The claims process has most recently culminated in Waikato-Tainui and the Crown signing a 2009 Deed of Settlement for the river.¹ The 2009 deed establishes a new co-governance structure for the river, with equal Māori and Crown representation. However, what has also transpired from the agreement is the emergence of a new guard of Māori decision-makers who have challenged and displaced the traditional Kīngitanga (King Movement) leaders as the main power-brokers of the Waikato River. Before Waikato-Tainui's most recent river negotiators there were a number of other Waikato ancestors who contributed to strengthening the relationship between Waikato Māori and the Waikato River. Prominent Kīngitanga leaders such as Princess Te Puea Herangi, Sir Robert Mahuta, Te Arikinui (paramount chief) Te Atairangikaahu and successive Māori kings are recognized as mediating the relationship between Waikato Māori and the Waikato River.
Over the past forty years, recognition has become the dominant mode of negotiation and decolonization between the nation-state and Indigenous nations in North America. The term “recognition” shapes debates over Indigenous cultural distinctiveness, Indigenous rights to land and self-government, and Indigenous peoples’ right to benefit from the development of their lands and resources. In a work of critically engaged political theory, Glen Sean Coulthard challenges recognition as a method of organizing difference and identity in liberal politics, questioning the assumption that contemporary difference and past histories of destructive colonialism between the state and Indigenous peoples can be reconciled through a process of acknowledgment. Beyond this, Coulthard examines an alternative politics—one that seeks to revalue, reconstruct, and redeploy Indigenous cultural practices based on self-recognition rather than on seeking appreciation from the very agents of colonialism. Coulthard demonstrates how a “place-based” modification of Karl Marx’s theory of “primitive accumulation” throws light on Indigenous–state relations in settler-colonial contexts and how Frantz Fanon’s critique of colonial recognition shows that this relationship reproduces itself over time. This framework strengthens his exploration of the ways that the politics of recognition has come to serve the interests of settler-colonial power. In addressing the core tenets of Indigenous resistance movements, like Red Power and Idle No More, Coulthard offers fresh insights into the politics of active decolonization. © 2014 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
This paper describes, from the perspective of the advocates for Māori claimants, the substance of submissions to, and process followed by, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in determining that the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 discriminates against Māori. The paper has a number of functions: it illustrates that, contrary to the Prime Minister's suggestions, the process followed by the Committee was robust; provides much needed comment on the Committee's early warning and urgent action procedure; should be useful to other individuals or groups seeking to challenge legislation in international fora; and, finally, sheds light on the Committee's succinct decision by placing it within the context from which it emerged.
Co-management of environmental resources is an idea that has been developing for some time in Aotearoa New Zealand as a strategy that recognizes Indigenous interests in the environment, and the different ways that people view the world. The contest for control of New Zealand's rivers has generally arisen from successive governments purporting to secure rights based upon English common law. Successive governments purported to secure rights for the Crown based upon English common law. That law presumed that the Crown owned the beds of tidal rivers as arms of the sea, and that the owners of lands with river frontage owned the beds of non-tidal rivers to the rivers' centre lines. The early Waitangi Tribunal Reports concerning water resources highlighted the importance of Maori participation in decisions that affect the resources they consider to be taonga.
Valuing indigeneity is a recent phenomenon despite a long tradition in Aotearoa New Zealand of mechanisms that recognize Māori rights and interests. Political pressure to acknowledge indigeneity has been a prerequisite to greater recognition of Māori rights and interests in environmental policy. Māori involvement is now a feature of the state resource management system; however, more substantive forms of power-sharing is sought to secure tribal authority, to reaffirm Māori culture, and to ensure that land continues to shape the identity of Māori people.
This article examines what might be included in a definition of Maori political participation that moves beyond a predominant focus on voting in New Zealand general elections. I suggest that the proliferation of Maori governance organisations in recent years means that Maori participation within these organisations must also be considered as part of wider political participation. In addition, I argue that Maori engagement with local authorities deserves further close examination to explore the multiple ways in which political participation occurs. Using a broader definition of Maori political participation and highlighting its many facets indicate that Maori engage in more varied ways in New Zealand politics than previously recognised.
Historically, few Māori have been elected to local government. In the last 10 years the Crown has created two opportunities for local government to increase the number of Māori elected: the Local Electoral Act 2001 allows a local government to change its electoral system from the first-past-the-post (FPP) to the single transferable voting (STV) system; and the Local Electoral Amendment Act 2002 allows a local government to create local Māori wards and Māori constituencies (replicating the model of Māori representation in the House of Representatives). Very few local governments have implemented either option. A small (and declining) number of councils have changed to STV. A few councils have polled their electors on the matter of establishing Māori wards, but each poll rejected them. In 2010 the Crown renewed its commitment to the ‘option’ of local electoral reform in establishing the new Auckland City Council. The Crown rejected a Royal Commission recommendation to guarantee Māori representation in the reconstituted council, preferring to allow the council and Auckland voters to engage in electoral reform if they wish to do so. Following the 2010 local government elections, Māori are still chronically under-represented amongst elected councillors. This article argues that the Crown is failing in its duty of active protection of Māori in laws relating to Māori representation in local government. Drawing on Kymlicka’s arguments about group representation, the article argues that the Crown has dual obligations to Māori in relation to local representation. It must recognize Māori as a community of interest in local electoral boundaries and it also must increase the number of Māori elected to local government. Both obligations can be met through the mandatory creation of Māori wards in all local government. This article also defends guaranteed local Māori representation against some common objections.
Abstract The contracting out to private providers of services previously delivered within the state has been framed critically as ‘hollowing out’ and read for its erosion of social democracy, social justice and welfare, as well as its inefficiencies in practice. It is commonly dismissed as neoliberalism. In this paper, we highlight the gains made through this new contractualism by Te Oranga, the Family, Health and Education division of Te Runanga o Te Rarawa located in the Far North of New Zealand. Our aim is not to narrate the exceptional, but to point to the inherent resistances to totalising projects residing in agency and place. Placed at the service of a deep sense of community being and community good rather than self-interest, delivery contracts have enabled Te Oranga to pursue an alternative form of local development and craft a set of progressive spaces. Although highly contingent upon powerful Maori political projects, we argue that the case suggests that gains may be sought in other settings, albeit partial, temporary, and politically contingent. We thus offer a more nuanced account of neoliberalism by highlighting its agency, fractures, politics, and contradictions, and by demonstrating that actualised neoliberalisms are co-constituted with other political projects.