The 175th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi -6th February 2015


Waitangi Day 6th February 2015

Kevin P Clements

The 6th February , Waitangi Day is a national holiday in New Zealand. It marks the 175th annversary of the Treaty of Waitangi. Te Tiriti is the founding document of New Zealand and established a 19th century contract between the British Crown and the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa-New Zealand. This Treaty paved the way for systematic colonisation and expropriation of the lands of this country. Its content and meaning were bitterly fought over during the New Zealand wars of the 1860s and 70s. Whatever we may think about the Treaty it enshrines an equal partnership between Maori and Pakeha. This partnership has more often than not been observed in the breach rather than in reality but we are beginning to make progress towards just and peaceful relationships between the people of the land Tangata Whenua and all the subsequent migrants to New Zealand-Mana Whenua.

New Zealand in the 21st century is based on a bicultural treaty but we are now very multi cultural. The fastest growing immigrant communities are Indian and Chinese. I celebrate this diversity just as I honour and acknowledge the fundamental bicultural relationship that lies at the heart of this small country.

The challenge confronting us now is how we weave these diverse threads of our community into a society and polity that is equal and just, resilient, robust, compassionate and caring. We need to build on the world-first emancipation of women, promotion of workers’ rights, the welfare state and the development of an enviable education system to ensure that we create an inclusive, exciting, hybridised cultural identity that will enable our core values to survive into the 22nd century!

So this is a day to give thanks to those who signed the Treaty, to give thanks to those who came afterwards and to those who welcomed the strangers. It is a time to give thanks for all our music, art, theatre and literature. It is a time to give thanks for what is and to make sure that we develop a society of which all can be proud and all are included.

Its a time to think about how we can really ensure that NZ is clean, green and sustainable. Its a time to think about an independent foreign policy again instead of being sucked into other people’s wars and conflicts.

But most of all this day a time to korero with Maori about ways in which we Pakeha can truly honour our side of the Treaty.

Oh and yes its my daughter Elwyn Clements’ 41st birthday. She was born on the day that Prime Minister Norm Kirk designated we celebrate what he called NZ day but which is now Waitangi Day. So Happy 41st Elwyn and happy 175th New Zealand and happy 1,000th to all those migrants from Polynesia who settled these lands a millennium ago!

I’m including a photograph of the Tino Rangatiratangi flag which many hope will some day replace the NZ ensign built around the Union Jack!!


About kevinclements2012

Short CV Professor Kevin P Clements. I am the Foundation Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand and Secretary General of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy. Prior to taking up these positions I was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia . I went to Queensland from International Alert where I was Secretary General from January 1999 to September 2003. International Alert is one of the world’s largest NGOs working on conflict transformation. It pioneered innovative policy and practical approaches to conflict prevention and transformation in Africa ,Eurasia and Asia . It has also made a major contribution to the mainstreaming of conflict prevention within European Foreign and Development Ministries, the EU and a variety of UN institutions. During his time there I was on the Board of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention and past President of the European Peace Building Liaison Office in Brussels. Prior to becoming Secretary General of International Alert I was the Vernon and Minnie Lynch Chair of Conflict Resolution at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University Fairfax Virginia USA 1994-2000 and Director of the Institute from 1994-1999. My career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. I was, for example, formerly Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and Head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra .Prior to this I was Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Coordinator of Peace Studies at Canterbury University, Christchurch New Zealand . My first academic position was as a lecturer in Sociology at Hong Kong University . I took up this position from a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University where I worked on development issues with Paul Streeten and others. I have been an advisor to the New Zealand, Australian , British , Swedish and Dutch governments on conflict prevention , peace, defence and security issues and advised the German Government and the OECD on States and Violence. I was, a member of the New Zealand Government’s Defence Committee of Enquiry in 1985 and I currently conducting Problem Solving Workshops in North East Asia with high level participants from Japan, China and Korea. Iwas President of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) from 1994-1998, President of the IPRA Foundation from 1995-2000 and Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. I was Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association 2008-2010. I got my B.A, B.A Hon ( First Class) and Ph.D in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. and held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 1970-1971. I have been a regular consultant to a variety of non governmental and intergovernmental organisations on disarmament, arms control, conflict resolution, development and regional security issues and I have written or edited 7 books and over 160 chapters /articles on conflict transformation, peacebuilding, preventive diplomacy and development with a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region. Research Expertise 1. Peace Research Theory- Conflict and Conflict Resolution Theory . Preventive Diplomacy , Development and Peacebuilding 2. International and Regional Regimes-APEC, ASEAN, the ARF, ECOWAS 3. Political Sociology-International Organisations. Multilateral/bilateral negotiating processes. 4. Fragile States, Legitimacy and Political Hybridity 5. Alternative Defence and Security Policies-Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific region. 6. The politics and ethics of international humanitarian intervention 7. Altruism and Compassion In my spare time I like to paint with acrylics or pastels, go to the theatre, listen to classical music, visit art galleries etc!
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