Maori Constitutional Report 2016

A report on constitutional transformation, promoted by the Iwi Chairs’ Forum and supported by other organisations, was released at Waitangi on Friday 5/2/16.

The report is the result of a four-year discussion process facilitated by a working group led by Professor Margaret Mutu and lawyer Moana Jackson. Members, selected by iwi or chosen for their expertise, last year completed the last of 252 engagement hui around the country, while a rangatahi group conducted a parallel engagement strategy of 70 regional wananga.

The terms of reference for the group were originally set at a national hui to consider a different constitution based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and He Whakaputanga, the 1835 Declaration of Independence. Professor Mutu noted that they did not ask how the Treaty might fit into the current Westminster system, but how a constitution might in fact be based upon it.

“That might seem novel to some, but it has always been the base of Maori understandings about the Treaty relationship,” she said.

Mr Jackson said he was pleased with the response from the hundreds of Maori who participated in the process.

“Although many Maori may not use words like ‘constitution,’ they do know about the constant denial of the Maori right to make Maori decisions, which is really all that a constitution is about. It is in fact the key to the Treaty relationship that has not yet been achieved,” he said.

The report outlines a number of key constitutional values, and suggests some indicative constitutional models, Professor Mutu saying it sets 2040 as an appropriate date to work towards for achieving a proper Tiriti-based constitution that was inclusive of everyone in New Zealand.

Mr Jackson was hopeful that the report would encourage an on-going, broader dialogue, as constitutional transformation was the next step in “settling the Treaty.”

“It is not some pious hope, but in fact a legitimate Treaty expectation,” he said.
The Northland Age 9 Feb 2016

The Report can be read here > The Report of Matiki Mai Aotearoa: Independent Working Group on Constitutional Transformation