New Zealand is one of the last inhabitable states to be discovered in the world. The first group of people to arrive at this place was the Maori from Hawaiki between 1200 and 1300 AD. It is believed that they migrated from some of the islands in Polynesia South Pacific Ocean (Belgrave, (2014). This is due to distinguishing similarities in culture and language between them and other people from Polynesia, Hawaii, Tahiti, and Cook Island. They reached New Zealand navigating the Pacific Ocean using voyage canoes. New Zealand is considered as one of the states that have got very captivating history studying some of the unique mixtures of European and Maori culture (Boast, 2010). Due to the pressure that was exerted by the British in need of the Maori to sell their land, it led to constant conflict creating Maori protest movement (Lineham, 2014).
There was a constant visit by the European sealers and whalers who began trading. However, the British administration was being pushed to prevent the French government who considered New Zealand as a prospective colony. In 1840 Waitangi Treaty was signed by Maori chiefs and the British representative (Boast, 2010). Maori came under increasing pressure to sell their land to Europeans which led to most of their lands being confiscated and constant war in around 1860s. Modern Maori protest movement commenced in the late 1960s and early1970s. This protest movement has really grown to have strong support to achieve the three main goals; equality, justice, and tino rangatiratanga (Lineham, 2014).
During this time, Maori protest movements were so much influenced by women rights movement, anti-war, black consciousness, and indigenous rights. Maori together with Pakeha allies in the last forty years has been in the forefront taking their people to occupy streets, rally, picketed, blockaded and hikoied all over the nation (Belgrave, (2014). During these protest, they painted graffiti, disrupted many ongoing activities such as fishing and farming. Additionally, they also burnt colonialist flags. All these were influenced by different issues including land rights, need to be independent, treaty of Waitangi, and Maori culture. The Maori wanted to their rights to be guaranteed, have fairness and Crown conservation of their taonga and land (Boast, 2010).
Many of the protest in New Zealand by the Maori were land related. They majorly involved disturbance of surveys, which included burning and removal of survey pegs and expelling surveyors. In the south island, one of the prophets of Te Maiharoa inhabited one of the sheep stations near Omarama (Brooking, 2010). Maori condemned land distrainment by ensuring that all survey pegs were destroyed and going ahead plow all the confiscated land. Parliament petition was one of the methods the Maori used to protest, they were sending some of the petitions addressing all their land grievances to Parliament (Belgrave, (2014).
According to Brooking (2010), Waitangi treaty was one of the factors that influenced Maori protest. They boycotted Waitangi day protesting against Maori Affairs Amendment Acts. During this day the ceremony was disrupted by a group of protesters chanting and performing haka. The Maori were seeking for justice, equality, self-determination, and assurance of their sovereignty in all forms of exploitations (Wilson, 2018). The treaty of Waitangi was one of the major focus of Maori protest all this time. It has majorly been used to argue for some of the very important factors that affected the Maori such as unjustly grabbed lands by the colonials. They wanted the treaty to be ratified as they considered it as an illegal document.
Additionally, they argued that the document had not been honored as per the agreement during their previous meeting and therefore they maintained to dismiss any orders that might have been put on their freedom (Brooking, 2010). Moreover, they considered the treaty a broken contract saying it was just non-fulfillment in the Pakeha education system, it leads to massive Maori unemployment, and increased cases rate of imprisonment and poor health among the Maori.
In the year 1984 Maori hikoi to Waitangi from Turangawaewae marae in Ngarawahia tried to stop the celebration of the Waitangi Treaty. Maori who had been included in the anti-apartheid movement, the profession at Bastion Point and Raglan were now trying to sabotage the validity of the entire colonial regime system before the Maori (Wilson, 2018). This, therefore, forced the state to acknowledge Maori demands for retroactive authority for the Waitangi tribunal instead of fighting for a section of Aotearoa. As part of Waitangi, Action counsel tried to block the Treaty celebrations. All that the people wanted were to get the lands that were stolen (Boast, 2010).
The Maori also carried out the protest in order to get free and be allowed to have their cultural rights. In the year 1972, there was a petition that was presented in the parliament by the Maori requesting that the Maori language be taught in all the institutions in New Zealand (Brooking, 2010). This idea was signed by many people and on 14th September the day, it was presented become Maori language day. Protest over the suspension of Maori language was held in the year 1995 which resulted to disruption of TV six o'clock news broadcast (Belgrave, (2014).
In 1979 May 1st He Taua a group of Maori students confronted some of the students at Auckland University who wanted to carry out mock haka. The students had traditions where they participated in wearing grass cloths, and painting sexual organs on their bodies and mocking Maori (Lineham, 2014). The struggle by students to have haka stopped through the official channels had not bored any fruits and therefore, the only way to stop this act was through carrying out protest. However, Maori students' members were charged with different offenses. There was a national movement for treaty rights (Belgrave, (2014).
The protest associated the struggle across the country for Maori sovereignty with the struggle of Maori students the He Taua against the government when it attempts to tread over the law and decline the assurance of their tipuna that ensures that sovereignty over the land is a guarantee (Wilson, 2018). Maori students group known as the He Taua had no otherwise but to protest against haka as they saw that they were despised and differentiated by their fellow students. After the massive national movement for treaty rights, they received support and since then, haka has never been performed again (Boast, 2010).
Additionally, in the year 1989, there was a Maori flag protest that was carried out by the Maori protest group known as the Te Kawariki. According to Lineham (2014), the chosen flag by the Maori was known as the Tino rangatiratanga flag. There were series of protest after an attempt to remove the flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day by the Te Ata Tino Toa. However, after a series of protest, the flag was selected to be a national Maori flag and it was taken on Harbor Bridge on formal occasions since 2010 (Belgrave, (2014).
Government proposals and legislation have also been the source of modern Maori movements (Belgrave, (2014). There was massive protest later in the 20th century which was based in Hunn Report that was released in the year 1961. The Maoris were against the report since it was advocating for the placement of Maori land under European land title. Additionally, the report also forced the mandatory buying of uneconomic shares. Though all the changes were put in place to help Maori so that they can utilize their lands effectively, Maori were not allowed to have links to tribal lands (Brooking, 2010). This led to opposition and protest against the report and emergences of 'Not one more acre' refrain. There was also a movement against fiscal envelope, which had an intention of limiting Maori settlements by one billion. This fishy envelope emerged in the year 1994.
The protests that the introduction of the limit on claims produced can be seen as the juncture between portrayals of the Treaty as a guarantee of justice and portrayals of the Treaty as a guarantee against colonialism in all its forms (Belgrave, (2014). Some iwi authorities were becoming increasingly corporatized and ready to accept a slice of the neo-colonial capitalist pie in return for keeping quiet. Poata-Smith believes that internal Maori struggle against this lead to settlement agreements as the fiscal envelope and the Sealord deal. After all the protest, the fiscal envelope was not executed (Brooking, 2010).
Additionally, there had been legal disagreement that New Zealand judiciaries had interpreted Maori rights to the seabed and foreshore incorrectly (Boast, 2010). And by the year2004 when Maori were mobilized nationwide to oppose the Foreshore and Seabed Legislation the tradition of protesting to highlight to the world that the Treaty guaranteed equal treatment of Maori and Pakeha activists had three decades of holding successive governments to account for failing to meet their Treaty obligations (Lineham, 2014).
Another cause of modern Maori protests movement was the fight against economic colonization. This took place in the late 1990s. Maori were in the forefront fighting against Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Multilateral Agreement on Investments Maori (MAI). This was due to threats that were posed by the uncontrolled foreign investment in New Zealand's authority (Wilson, 2018).
According to Brooking (2010), Maori mobilized and went to the streets to protest against the MAI and, they ended up challenging the administration's mandate to arrange an agreement which would give foreign investors enforceable rights over resources and intellectual property which they were fighting to control. During the protest, they had placards indicating 'Our Country is Not for Sale.' The government's negotiation to join APEC or any international agreement was, Maori said, illegitimate if it did not have Maori consent. Maori protest movement against economic colonization was combined with their calls for greater recognition of the Treaty in not just Maori affairs but to "cement it in the life of this nation by the year 2000 (Wilson, 2018).
In 1999 APEC leaders summit in Auckland to draw attention to outstanding Maori land claims (Lineham, 2014). Two years later in 2001 Na Wahine TeA occupied the Environment Risk Management Authority office to protest genetic engineering and the state-corporate bio-colonial agenda that was trying to sideline Treaty rights, partnership and tino rangatiratanga (Brooking, 2010).
Pakeha empire old and new has been resisted through Maori protest in the last forty years. The site of struggle has overwhelmingly been the Treaty especially the denial of Maori self-determination [and] the continuing colonial nature of New Zealand society (Boast, 2010). The old goals of the protest movements of the 1970s and 1980s; justice, self-determination and equality have been dusted off again and again in the 1990s and now in the 21st century to resist encroaching economic and biological colonialism. For Maori to be successful in defense of their sovereignty now and in the foreseeable future they will have to dust off those methods of protest and symbolism, protesting the legitimacy of a state founded on a dishonored Treaty, resisting state enforced ethnic hierarchies and maintaining the mana of tino rangatiratanga (Belgrave, (2014).
Belgrave, M. (2014). The politics of Maori history in an age of protest. Journal Of New Zealand & Pacific Studies, 2(2), 139-156. doi: 10.1386/nzps.2.2.139_1
Boast, R. (2010). New Zealand Legal History and New Zealand Historians: A Non-meeting of Minds. The Journal Of New Zealand Studies, (9). doi: 10.26686/jnzs.v0i9.115
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