Ngāpuhi elder says interpretation of Hobson's words are incorrect

By Tema Hemi

A Ngāpuhi elder has challenged Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy more needs to be done to put an end to the failure of public understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi document.

Ngāpuhi elder Waihoroi Shortland says, "For long now this issue has remained unresolved and incorrect. I thought to myself that this is the year to make it right."

Shortland says, utterances from the first Governor-General of New Zealand, Captain William Hobson have been misinterpreted and that his people of the north want interpretations ratified.

Shortland also says, "I am referring to what Hobson said. They were not his own words but he was encouraged to say them. And the words that he spoke were, "he iwi tahi tātou". He did not say, "he iwi kōtahi tātou." We the tribes of the north understand the difference and that difference is the uniting of both Māori and Pākeha."

It's the Governor-General's fourth visit to the Waitangi Day Celebrations and she is well aware of the importance to Ngāpuhi to ensure history pertaining to the treaty is interpreted correctly.  

Reddy says, "Particularly having Māori and having New Zealand history as part of our curriculum at schools people will start learning gradually. They'll be coming to Waitangi. They'll understand more about the issues of not only the treaty but also what happened afterwards."

The Governor-General is supporting talks of a united future. 

Reddy also says, "Well I heard him say, "Together we are a nation" and I will take that message. I thought it was a lovely message."

Shortland says the Governor-General is the appropriate person to lead discussions on this issue despite being her last year as Governor-General. 

Shortland says in closing, "I translated those words for the Governor-General and in my translation I said that it meant, "Together we are one nation."