Hipkins stumped on Tiriti articles

By Will Trafford

 Prime Minister-designate Chris Hipkins and his deputy Prime Minister-designate Carmel Sepuloni hold their first press conference after their appointments. Photo / Stuff / Robert Kitchin

Chris Hipkins has been stumped on the articles of Te Tiriti, at his first press conference as incoming prime minister.

Having been formally elected by the Labour caucus Sunday and speaking to the media, Hipkins was asked to recall the three Treaty articles.

"We have kawanatanga, tino rangatiratanga, and, actually no, I can't remember the other, sorry," Hipkins said.

Hipkins was right on the first two but failed on the third, where the Crown guarantees Māori the benefits of royal protection and full citizenship.

The new PM is not the first to fumble on the Tiriti question, outgoing PM Jacinda Ardern was asked to recite the founding document in 2019 at Waitangi.

She landed on kawanatanga, after being helped by Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson, and remembered tino rangatiratanga but couldn't say what article three meant.

Luxon closer

"I know the principles of Waitangi, I know our obligations," she said.

"It is part of our history and we should be learning about it."

Ardern's government introduced compulsory Aotearoa / NZ history in schools in 2019.

Following Hipkins' fumble, Nats leader Christopher Luxon was asked to recite the Treaty principles later in the day.

"The first Treaty principle is sovereignty, the second one is rangatiratanga, and the third one is equality," Luxon said.

Hipkins had earlier declined to answer quickfire questions on such issues as the current employment rate, saying he usually checked those out before a press conference but noted he hadn't had time given the events of the weekend.

Public Interest Journalism, funded through NZ On Air