It appears that Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little and Ngāpuhi may have found common ground.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little's full speech in te reo Māori at Waitangi today - Video / File
Ascending onto Waitangi this morning, Little, also affectionately known as Anaru Iti, gave his address in te reo Māori, with the crowd responding with cries of agreeance, “Kia ora!” and “Tēnā koe!” from the haukāinga. Minister Little recalled the sacrifice of the 28th (Māori) Battalion, when Sir Apirana Ngata called on Māori to enlist. Ngata said fighting Hitler's army would be how we paid the price of citizenship.
Today in his speech Little proclaimed:
"Kua utua ketia e te Māori te utu o te kirirarau."
"The price of citizenship had already been paid in full by Māori."
“Ko ngā kōrero a ngā iwi, a ngā hapu ki te whakaaetanga he utu tūturu, he utu kaha, te utu o te kirirarau.”
Māori enlisted in response to Ngata's call in 1940. They did so, to remind the Crown, that their citizenship and the rights thereof needed to be recognised. They paid a massive price in doing so. Little explains how the human right of citizenship is protected by the treaty.
"Ko te kirirarau, i oatitia i te tiriti. Ka whakaoratia te tino rangatiratanga, ka hapaitia te wairua o te tiriti. Koina te timatanga o te whakahonore tūturu i te tiriti."
"Citizenship, was guaranteed by the treaty. It preserves self-determination and sovereignty, it gives life to the spirit of the treaty. This is the beginning of how the treaty should be honoured."
Little explained the impact that learning about Aotearoa history has had on the nation as a whole.
"Nō reira kua tino marama ki te pānga o te tatū mai o te iwi Pākehā ki ngā oranga me ngā tūmanako o te iwi tuatahi o Aotearoa.”
"Therefore, we clearly see the impact that the arrival of the Pākehā has had on the lives and aspirations of the first peoples of Aotearoa."
Minister Little also acknowledged the role of He Whakaputanga, or the 1835 Declaration of Independence.
Kua korero tātou mō te tiriti. Me kōrero hoki tātou mō he whakaputanga, he maha ngā whakaaro mō taua mea. Engari me kōrero tātou e tātou. Me marama tātou.
"We've spoken about the Treaty. We need to speak about the Declaration [of Independence], there are many ideas concerning this. But we need to speak with each other about it. We need to understand."
Perhaps the controversial minister will be able to build on the rapport he created today to progress the Ngāpuhi treaty claims.