Does tino rangatiratanga really matter?

Feb. 21, 2019, 1:14 p.m.

Tino rangatiratanga or “absolute sovereignty” goes hand in hand with the celebrations of Waitangi Day as we continue to work within the complexities of the Treaty of Waitangi.

For a lot of Ngāpuhi descendants it is an ideal woven into the fabric of everyday life, guiding decisions especially in areas involving Crown relationships.  

Under Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori were guaranteed 'exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries and other properties'.  Today only 6% of New Zealand land is Māori owned and with this landloss the ability of hapū and iwi to provide for the wellbeing of its people has been greatly diminished. 

For many Māori the notion of tino rangatiratanga is not only foreign but difficult to execute in their lives especially those living below the poverty line where the need for the basics of life override everything else.

As Ngapuhi push to move forward with a Treaty settlement the ability for Māori to excercise absolute sovereignty is a recurrent bargaining factor but is this concept achievable?  Te Hiku Media asks the people, does tino rangatiratanga really matter? Should we just get on with it?

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