Role of Waitangi Tribunal

December 20th, 2005 at 7:11 am by David Farrar

I am ever amazed by how the role of the Waitangi Tribunal has expanded over time. I certainly support most of the work it has done on resolving historical land grievances.

But it seems to have morphed into a hear any issue at all affecting one or more Maori. The latest is its recommendation that a WWII Maori solider should be given a VC.

I don’t disagree that the solider may well have deserved a VC. What I can’t work out is how this is in any way related to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Has the Waitangi Tribunal become a universal advocate for Maori on any and all issues? If Maori do suffer discrimination (which is of course wrong) isn’t that the role of the Human Rights Commission or Race Relations Conciliator?

Wouldn’t the Waitangi Tribunal be better to focus on the huge backlog of land claims that it has? They have a unique role in law to adjudicate and recommend on them. And the longer they take to do so, the longer they remain a source of division.

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17 Responses to “Role of Waitangi Tribunal”

  1. David () says:

    The reason he missed on the VC was because his actions were not witnessed by an Officer which is a prerequisite for the highest award. Many other soldiers missed out for the same reason.Just what is it about NO the Wtr doesnt understand?

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  2. David Farrar () says:

    We have an ethnic ombudsman – it is called the Human Rights Commission.

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  3. Greenjacket () says:

    Che Tibby

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  4. neil morrison () says:

    che, you’r not really adressing DPF’s point which is this apparent extention of the role of the WT. That is a legitimate question in the circumstances. Of course the WT is there to specifically hear Maori grievances but not every greivance is necessarily related to the Treaty.

    That said, if that Greenjacket says is true – that the WT found no breach of the Treaty – then DPF’s has nothing to worry about.

    The family made this issue part of a broader treaty claim and it is reasonable for the WT to listen to the entire claim and then decide what it can consider. They do not seem to have made any ruling based on the Treaty but have rather made a recomendation to the Government. Perhaps that is still an extension of its role.

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  5. Murray () says:

    There are several reasons he didn’t get the VC, among them the fact that it was just a week since Ngarimu won his.

    These reasons are wrong. This has been unoffically acknowledged by the British military who made the decision at 8th Army level.

    I don’t beleive race was factor, nor was “the crown” involved in the decision. Consequently I don’t think that the Waitangi tribunal is the apropriate place to take it.

    However I do beleive that this VC should be given, along with several others. In particular William Geroge Malone for his taking and holding Chunuk Bair at the cost of his own life and 90% of the Wellington Battalion.

    During the same action Australians won multiple well deserved VC’s for their attacks on Lone Pine and The Nek.

    New Zealanders won a single VC, Cyril Basset for laying signal line to the top of Chunuk Bair.

    The offical British Military history still hold Malone responsible for the failure of the entire battle when in fact he provided it’s sole success. This disparity of awards is clearly political. Presently the decision for Malones medal is residing with Helen Clark and given that it has been with her for some time and her fondness for dismantling the British Awards it’s not looking good. It is possible she has already declined it and this decision hasn’t been made public.

    However that would be the road that should be taken for Manahi as well.

    In the mean time it is worth considering that the 28th saw more action and took more casualities than any other allied unit. This has not been apropriately acknowledged in terms of awards.

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  6. Ross Miller () says:

    I think Greenjacket has it about right. And, if perchance Government decides it is politically expedient to rewrite history then what would they do about his DCM … take it away from him? You can’t be awarded two (Commonwealth) decorations arising out of the same set of circumstances.

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  7. spector () says:

    The original article, David’s comment on the article and all the posted replies all show one thing – no one in this country has any idea what the ‘principals of the treaty of Waitangi’ actually are. It’s lucky none of us are trying to get a bus driving job at UNITEC or anywhere else where indepth understanding of the treaty is part of the employment process.

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  8. maksimovich () says:

    The Sovereign awards the VC this is a personal award by the sovereign.The government can only recommend it.

    History is always selective .The most decorated maori of the second world war is not well known in NZ.

    Who is it?

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  9. culma () says:

    Why would the family of a Maori war hero, want their relative honored with a decoration from the oppressive race that has done nothing but down trodden Maori values over the last 150 years? PAKEHA, I and all NZ’ers have had this pumped into us over the last 30 years and this is a question that is relevant to this topic.

    After introducing the grand order of Helen, which has replaced night and dame hoods we now need to ask parliament to give up the awarding of the order of NZ, they have earmarked for Helen Clark, be given to someone that is worthy! As in the case of Sgt Jack Manahi! (I do realise the order of NZ can’t be given posthumously). In Sgt Mananhi’s case I think it is irrelevant that there was no officer present as his actions were witnessed by so many other soldiers, over the hours that he repeatedly returned under enemy fire.

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  10. Cadmus () says:

    I have no doubt Sgt Jack Manahi deserves a medal. But what about the rest of the people who put their lives on the line in Battle. I new an ex-serviceman who lost half his leg in the Western Desert during WW 2. He said he was saved by two guys he didn’t even know. He was hit while retreating, The 2 soldiers grabbed him and he put his arms around their shoulders under fire, and they carried him while he hopped on one leg.
    I said did you thank them. He said sure, but you didn’t have to, no one was looking for medals just looking after their mates, and doing the job. I wonder if Sgt Manahi was looking for medals, or just looking after his mates, and doing his job?

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  11. Trouble () says:

    You could always read the actual report before opining on it. It’s not very long.

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  12. kiwi exforces () says:

    I seen a few comments on L/Sgt Manahi DCM which made me go to my Library to correct a few comments that have been made.
    1) A numder of officers did observed battle to Takrouna,- A major for the Nott Yeomanry wrote to Freyberg about the action that took place, Brigadier Kippenberger commander of NZ 5 brigade observed it and Generals Freyberg GOC of 2 NZ Div and Horrocks GOC 10 Corps commander witnessed it he was quoted to say it was the most gallant feat of arms i have witness in the course of the war.
    2)L/Sgt Manahi was recommended for a VC by Kippenberger, Freyberg and Horrocks. The citation was wrote by Major D Blundell (later GG to NZ) the Brigade Major for 5NZ Brigade.
    To my mind this is of most injustices to a unlisted NZ serviceman during WW2. Yes he should have got the VC. There are rules to govern the handing out of awards in peacetime after the battle has taken place and these must be kept upheld at all costs as this could open a bloody big can worms.
    For Ref:
    The Story of the Maori Battalion by Wira Gardiner, Chap Takouna:’The Politics of Bravey’
    Kippenberger an inspired NZ Commander by Glyn Harper, Chap Yeoman Service: the End in Africa.

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  13. Graeme Edgeler () says:

    Thanks for that Trouble – it seems a sensible decision all round, not least where it is basically concluded that there was no breach of the treaty.

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  14. PabloR () says:

    In the early part of the 20th century a commission was formed to look into the VC and actually took back a number of VCs that had been awarded. I assume they replaced them with lesser decorations. Why not look at Manahi’s decoration again?

    Perhaps the WT can consider this to be a treaty breach if the award was declined on racial grounds, a bit of a wide interpretation I suppose, but then, acting as a repository of NZ’s history is also a function of the WT so perhaps justifiable.

    My only other comment is that the WT is better off looking at claims that affect the rights and lives of living people. Manahi’s mana is important in one context, but the WT has limited resources and should pick its causes appropriately.

    And give the guy his VC.

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  15. side show bob () says:

    I do not beleive we can rewrite history,there are thousands of people that gave their lives. Each and every one of them more than deserve the VC,thats why we have the right to express our opinons today on this forum.

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