Self-rule for Tuhoe?

The Herald reports on an aspect of the terms of negotiation between the Crown and , which is to provide clarity regarding their constitutional relationship.

Calls from Maori activist Tame Iti for self-government arrangements for the Tuhoe tribe similar to those Wales, and Northern Ireland have in the UK have been backed by a leader likely to negotiate the tribe’s Treaty settlement. …

“It’s one of the things which has been consistent since the 1870s: Tuhoe’s regard for their nationhood and their independence.”

However, before formal negotiations proper began the iwi had to decide what specific arrangements of self-government it would like to see, Mr Kruger said.

He said nations had existed within nation-states for hundreds of years and while other iwi – for example, Te Atiawa or Ngati Toa in Wellington – might struggle to make a compelling argument for self-government because of the large number of non-Maori in their areas, Tuhoe’s geographical isolation changed things.

The United Kingdom is certainly an example of having countries within a country.  But I am unsure one can draw the analogy too far. As noted in the article, the presence of non-Maori in an area is a huge issue.

You see self rule in Scotland and Wales etc is not based on bloodlines, or ethnicity, or nationality – but simply location. An englishman living in Edinburgh has just as many rights to vote in Scottish elections, as a native Scots.

There are around 30,000 Tuhoe, and currently it seems only around 6,000 live in their traditional lands. I am unsure how many non-Tuhoe live there, but I could not imagine a situation where non-Tuhoe living there would be allowed to become second class citizens with lesser rights of representation.

It is also worth noting other differences between Scotland and Tuhoe:

  1. Length of self-rule – Scotland existed as a country for around 1200 years before 1707. it is unknown how long Tuhoe was a distinct tribe in NZ, but far far less
  2. Population – Scotland has 5 million residents and only around 6,000 Tuhoe live in their traditional lands
  3. Legal System – Scotland, despite being part of the UK, continued to have its own legal system

I’m not oppossed to of powers in cases that are appropriate. But in the UK the devolution has been to all citizens in an area, not just those of a particular ethnicity.

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