‘Maranga Ake Ai’ The Heroics of Constitutionalising Te Tiriti O Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi in Aotearoa New Zealand

AuthorJacobi Kohu-Morris,Jacinta Ruru
Published date01 December 2020
Date01 December 2020
Subject MatterArticles
‘Maranga Ake Ai’ The Heroics of
Constitutionalising Te Tiriti O
Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi
in Aotearoa New Zealand
Jacinta Ruru* and Jacobi Kohu-Morris**
In 1840, some of the sovereign nations of M¯aori signed te Tiriti o Waitangi (the M¯aori language
version of the Treaty of Waitangi) with the British Crown. Hone Heke was the first M¯aori leader of
the northern nation of Ng¯
apuhi to sign, but by 1844 he was leading a significant revolt against British
colonialism in Aotearoa New Zealand by chopping down British flagpoles erected on his lands.
While M¯aori may have initially welcomed the intent of te Tiriti as a means for seeking British help to
protect their international borders, the British prioritised the English version of the Treaty which
recorded the transfer of sovereignty from M¯aori to the British. As the British transposed their
dominant legal traditions of governance, including bringing to the fore their doctrine of parlia-
mentary supremacy, M¯aori have been seeking their survival ever since. We extend this by focusing
on why the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty needs to adapt to the Treaty’s promise of
bicultural power sharing.
I Introduction
There’s a movement, a movement on the street
People moving, they shuffle to the beat
I hear them talkin’, they’re talkin’ on the street
Words like ‘freedom from oppression’,
‘Cos that’s what my people need
Akuanei, maranga ake ai!
* (Raukawa, Ng¯ati Ranginui) Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. PhD (Victoria), LLM
(Otago), BA (Well). The author may be contacted at jacinta.ruru@otago.ac.nz.
** (Ng¯ati Ranginui, Ng¯ati Awa) final year law and arts undergraduate student, University of Otago. The author may be
contacted at Jacobi.Kohu@otago.ac.nz.
1. Aotearoa, ‘Maranga Ake Ai’ (YouTube, 16 June 2014) <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v¼u20OF_1bHPA>.
Federal Law Review
2020, Vol. 48(4) 556–569
ªThe Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0067205X20955105

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