In Aotearoa-New Zealand, talk of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s foundational colonial contract) often centres on Indigenous Māori and Pākehā (New Zealanders of European descent) relations. But where do Asian (im)migrants/communities fit into such discussions? What are Asian (im)migrants/communities' responsibilities to Māori, the Indigenous people of the land, and Te Tiriti? How might wisdom inherited from our ancestors, in particular, Asian philosophies, help us to think through these questions? Here, Lincoln Dam documents his journey hitherto of be(com)ing an Asian tangata tiriti – a person/people group belonging here via Te Tiriti. Dam critically reflect on his (family’s) story and struggles with (not) belonging as Asians in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Learning from te ao Māori (the Māori world), he then reach for wisdom inherited from his own ancestors. He demonstrates how Chinese, Thai and Theravāda Buddhist philosophies on relationality and ethics teach him to live a virtuous life with others and, by extension, to have good, productive relationships with Māori and Te Tiriti. This paper creates possibilities for other (Asian) (im)migrants to reimagine their relationships with Indigenous peoples and treaties here, and elsewhere, and to be(come) tangata tiriti (or equivalent) too.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a founding document of New Zealand. An agreement between tangata whenua and the Crown in 1840, te Tiriti comprises eight written sheets in te reo Māori. The Manukau-Kāwhia copy of te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed on the shores of the Manukau harbour by Ngāti Whātua and Waikato rangatira.
An article by Dr Alistair Reese (Pākehā), a theologian and historian. Here, Alistair "argues that there’s a fourth [Treaty of Waitangi] article — an oral agreement that guaranteed religious freedom — for which he and others are seeking official recognition through a petition to parliament and a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal."
In this Re:News article, journalist Maggie Shui argues that "[i]t’s time for all of us Asian New Zealanders to come to terms with our status as settlers on colonised land, and find solidarity with the Indigenous people of the place we’ve chosen to move to".
Webinar: Before Te Tiriti, there was Moana: Pacific perspectives on Te Tiriti & Pacific peoples in NZ
This webinar explores the place of Pacific peoples in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, learning from the past and present in order to navigate a better future for all. Features Sione Tui'tahi and Viliami Puloka.
From Term 1 in 2023, Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories will be part of all kura and schools’ marau ā-kura and local curriculum. The document here outlines the new curriculum content.
Te Papa provides a free downloadable activity book to help children understand the significance of Waitangi Day, through maps, flags, word puzzles, drawings, and colouring in. This resource is suitable for primary-aged children. The activity book is available as a PDF in A4 and A5 size, in English and te reo Māori.