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Te Tiriti/Treaty, Power and the Fish: The Dynamics of Dispossession

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Dawson, Richard
Conference: Reinventing the Commons, the Fifth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bodoe, Norway
Conf. Date: May 24-28, 1995
Date: 1995
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5429
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): common pool resources
indigenous institutions
property rights
Iwi (New Zealand people)
Abstract: "This paper gives one interpretation of the politico-economic evolution of the fisheries in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The focus is on the Crown's failure to give effect to its guarantee to Iwi (ribes) of 'te tino rangatiratanga [...] o ratau toanga katoa' (the highest chieftainship of prized possessions) and 'full exclusive and undisturbed possession' of their fisheries promised in Te Tiriti/Treaty. Section 1 outlines the way in which the Maori and Pakeha parties to the contests are perceived and identified. Section 2 states how the contests may be framed, albeit with some difficulty, in Euro-centric politico-economic terms of rights and property. Section 3 fives a broad outline of the significance of fish in traditional Iwi life. Section 4 presents a sequence of events preceding Te Tiriti/Treaty so as to illuminate the circumstances and various possible reasons, motivations, and intentions, which led to Te Tiriti/Treaty. Section 5 examines aspects of the two texts of Te Tiriti/Treaty and the process whereby signatures were sought. Section 6 provides an account of various post-Te Tiriti/TReaty power contests up until the mid-to-late 1860s. Finally, Section 7 looks at the evolving status of Te Tiriti/Treaty fishing rights."

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