The Treaty and the Magna Carta

Professor David Williams of the Auckland University Law Faculty is giving a public address:

The – the Maori
Public address by Dr David V Williams, Professor of Law, University of Auckland
St Andrews on The Terrace, Wellington
7:30pm Sunday 13th September

The blurb is:

“This year is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. It is also the 175th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The notion of ‘British sovereignty’ as understood in 1840 (rather than as understood in later and in more recent times) was consistent with the continued application of tikanga and rangatiratanga for governance of the affairs of hapu, whilst the colonial administration exercised direct authority over settlers and foreign traders. In debates about the Treaty of Waitangi in the early 1840s there were numerous references by the Governor and his officers to that treaty as the ‘Maori Magna Carta.’ The address will discuss aspects of that history and then turn to contemporary issues.

“Magna Carta’s symbolic strengths cannot guarantee good defence counsel for those who are accused of crimes, nor can they ensure that justice is indeed done when juries announce verdicts of guilty. But without due process and other common law liberties, the potential for more frequent examples of arbitrary and unfair detentions and imprisonments would be hugely enhanced. Noting instances of justice and injustice in recent times, the address will conclude that due process common law traditions associated with the Magna Carta remain of enduring significance.” – Dr David Williams

I was unaware that at the time the Treaty was referred to as the Maori Magna Carta. Should be an interesting lecture.