At Waitangi in 1989 when he was chair of the Waitangi Tribunal, Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie, current chair of the Māori Council, referred to non-Māori as Tangata Tiriti: those who belong to this land by right of te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi. He noted that without the Treaty they would have no lawful presence in such numbers nor any legitimate political role in this part of the Pacific. Put another way, in the Treaty there were Tangata Whenua – people of the land – and Tangata Tiriti – people of the Treaty. (Tangata Tiriti includes everyone who cannot whakapapa to a Māori ancestor, not just white people from Britain – it is a political rather than an ethnic term).

In te Tiriti the Crown undertook to respect and uphold the tino rangatiratanga of the many independent hapū in exchange for the right to govern its own subjects within the boundaries of the land granted to them. Those same subjects, or citizens as we say now, were therefore also bound to recognise the mana whenua status (independent authority) of their local hapū with all their powers of tino rangatiratanga. However the Crown (‘Kāwanatanga’ in te Tiriti) quickly got out of control, unilaterally taking to itself the power to govern the whole country and all of its citizens. Now that Tangata Tiriti have at last begun to understand the Treaty they have begun to accept the responsibility to promote the establishment of an honourable Kāwanatanga – the one promised in the Treaty.

The Treaty was and is an invitation to Tangata Tiriti to belong in this land IF the Treaty is honoured.
It is the basis of the developing culture of Tangata Tiriti
and of their nationhood.


A Treaty-based way of working towards a Treaty-based future within organisations

There may need to be many occasions to caucus (and sub-caucus) as per the above diagram before the bilateral Tangata Tiriti:Tangata Whenua relationships are explored in the combined meeting space. This is because relationships within the caucusses have to be sorted out first, and both the ramifications of the indigenous status of Tangata Whenua and the  appropriate role for Tangata Tiriti have to be fully understood by everyone.

The Tangata Whenua caucus has to include Mana Whenua and Taura Here (Māori  living outside their own region) group representatives, and any other Tangata Whenua groups or individuals identified by them as relevant, as well as any Māori staff the organisation may employ.


This resource was produced by Network Waitangi Otautahi (NWO) www.nwo.org.nz.

NWO welcomes feedback on all resources. Please send to organisers@nwo.org.nz

April 2020