Prendergast - treaty worthless

The ruling of Chief Justice Sir James Prendergast in the 1877 Wi Parata case:

“Prendergast ruled that the courts lacked the ability to consider claims based on aboriginal or native title. He described the Treaty of Waitangi as ‘worthless’ because it had been signed ‘between a civilised nation and a group of savages’. In his view, the Treaty had no judicial or constitutional status because Māori were not organised into a nation capable of signing a treaty. Since the Treaty had not been incorporated into domestic law, it was a ‘simple nullity’.”

See here: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/the-chief-justice-declares-that-the-treaty-of-waitangi-is-worthless-and-a-simple-nullity

Notes:
The Prendergast comments about the treaty being signed by barbarians is no different from comments by Normanby in his instructions to Hobson in 1839.

The treaty is still not a legal document, although references to the treaty in legislation create a legal basis for certain processes


In relation to the comment on the NZ History link .... "it would be used to justify the alienation of much more Māori land."

Many Maori wanted to sell land, and did so, and lived it up while they could.

Those who did not sell and did not lease left a problem for their descendants, who multiplied into numerous multiple owners for limited areas of land.

This largely renders the land useless because nobody can agree on what to do and no one wants to do the work.

They are still trying to sort out that problem through the latest version of the Te Ture Whenua Maori Land Bill.