Te tiriti o Waitangi: the comic book
February 12, 2019 3:20 AM   Subscribe

Te Tiriti o Waitangi: the comic book The illustrated story of the Treaty of Waitangi, courtesy of the New Zealand School Journal.

The comic tells the story of the Treaty of Waitangi for primary school and intermediate-aged kids, but considering how sparse education in New Zealand has been around this subject, we think the adults might need it too.
posted by Start with Dessert (12 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
This is a hell of a better explanation than I've gotten from two visits to see the actual treaty at Te Papa.
posted by Nelson at 9:25 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

That's a pretty great comic book. Well done, indeed, and not too much of the glossing-over-misbehavior.
posted by suelac at 9:27 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

This resonates with me in Canada, where we have a somewhat similar history of establishing treaties where the two sides clearly did not have a common understanding of what they were agreeing to, and then the more powerful side proceeded to abuse their power to a ridiculous degree.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:35 AM on February 12 [6 favorites]

jacquilynne, resonates in the US too. I think there are many instances of this behaviour, really unfortunate to be the native peoples when an empire comes to swing it's turds around.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:06 AM on February 12

This is so great -- thank you! I learned a lot from it.
posted by OrangeDisk at 10:14 AM on February 12

The thing that's unique about the Treaty of Waitangi is that it was written so late, in 1840. After centuries of seeing similar treaties fail in Canada, and the United States, and everywhere else the British Empire and others tried to set up some semblance of legal and diplomatic relations with a native population. This was supposed to be the good treaty.
posted by Nelson at 10:21 AM on February 12

It wasn't a great outcome, but it was so, so much better than what happened in Australia, where there was no general treaty and not much attention was even paid to local agreements.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:43 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Such good intentions! I can't bring myself to believe in that. Maybe I am mistaken.

It took only 5 years for the thin fig leaf to drop and the British Empire to send more troops to fight the Maori once they objected to some of the land "sales".
posted by haemanu at 7:21 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]

I feel Nelson's comment is overly generous. Colonial states have always had significant, often dominant factions that wanted to seize other people's assets and if a treaty assisted in executing a policy with less cost than outright conquest, then fine, sign a treaty. Heading off the New Zealand Company to secure New Zealand for the Crown is at least as valid a reading of intentions as protecting and dealing fairly with Māori.

(I drafted this comment yesterday on my phone: what haemanu said).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:06 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

What I'm saying is, attributing good faith and high-mindedness to any large power's foreign policy, let along 19th century Britain, is not something I can really support, even if particular people involved in the process were decent people.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:09 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

I didn't mean to suggest that most of the British colonialists were working in good faith or out of a sense of fairness with Māori. Their rapaciousness was immediately clear in the way the Treaty was actually interpreted and implemented. The cascade of fraudulent sales and then war and outright seizure of property is all unforgivable, violent colonialism at work.

I'm still just struck that someone somewhere at least tried to have what looked like an honest treaty (translation mistakes aside.) They didn't bother in Australia. It's just no one in the British Empire was particularly concerned about maintaining an honest treaty in New Zealand.
posted by Nelson at 7:47 AM on February 13

Thanks for the link, Nelson. I wasn't aware that Australia was the only Commonwealth country to have never signed a treaty with its indigenous people. Yay us.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:42 AM on February 14

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