HRH Prince Charles recommits to honouring the treaty

By Bronson Perich, Heta Gardiner, Te Ao - Māori News

His Royal Highness, Prince Charles along with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall was welcomed to Waitangi today. Ngāpuhi presented a fierce challenge to the Royal Ope and welcomed His Royal Highness with haka and oratory.

Waihoroi Shortland addressed HRH and described the long association that he has had with the Royal Family, starting with his personal memories of HM the Queen.

After joking about his acting career, he then turned make a light hearted quip at Naida Gladish’s English language skills and the accuracy of her translations to the Royal Couple. Shortland then requested Gladish to “embellish” the translation of the next part of his speech - which was a personal request to the Royal Heir.

“E te Piriniha, he rua ō tama, tukua mai tētahi, hei Kāwana Tianara mō mātou!”

“Noble Prince, you have two sons, grant that one of them, may be a Governor-General for us!”

Shortland emphasised that his request was personal to himself, and that it carried no authority whatsoever.

"Think upon it Sir, your answer, could be very, very important.”

HRH then responded with a mihi in Te Reo, in particular to his Ngāpuhi hosts. HRH paid tribute to the hospitality that Aotearoa has extended to himself and his family as they have visited over the years. He acknowledged the changes in our society, particularly, that since his last visit, that the Crown had begun to settle Māori injustices.

"For as long as I have known this country and her people, I have been deeply struck by the commitment of New Zealanders, to do what is right, even when it is not easy. NZ has faced up to the most painful periods of her past, in a way that offers an example to the world. She has done so with courage, compassion, and tolerance. Qualities, which, its seems to me, define the New Zealand character."

While praising the Treaty settlement process, he acknowledged its shortcomings.

"The Treaty Settlements, do not, and cannot right all the wrongs of the past, and they only go so far in easing the pain that has been felt by so many people."

However, HRH referred back to the covenant of the Treaty of Waitangi, calling it "historic and far-sighted," and reaffirmed his commitment to honouring it.

"In standing here before you today, I humbly reaffirm my commitment, and that of my children and grandchildren, to this bond between us."

HRH then concluded by referring to different examples within Aotearoa of unity such as tukutuku, Tuia250, and the Māori Battalion.