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The "false generosity" of treaty settlements: innovation and contortion

In Aotearoa New Zealand the ways in which indigenous claims to lands and waters are addressed are often looked to as good, or even best, practice by indigenous peoples around the world. While things are far from perfect, in recent decades Maori have succeeded in changing perceptions about the Treaty of Waitangi as the foundation of the nation, and work steadily continues on settling outstanding Treaty claims. The resulting Treaty of Waitangi settlements are negotiated arrangements which aim to remove a sense of historical grievance and achieve significant rebuilding of the Maori economy. They are seen by some as dynamic and powerful steps towards economic independence, as a means of recognising special relationships to lands and waters, and a necessary prerequisite to improved relationships between the state and the indigenous Maori in the future. ¹ Critics see the settlements and the processes followed to reach them as too heavily weighted in the government's favour. ² They argue that the settlements do not sufficiently compensate for actual losses. They are said to pit Maori against Maori. Diverse claimant groups are effectively forced to negotiate within standardised and fixed parameters. For these and other reasons, the settlement agreements, policies and processes have been labelled as divisive and compromising self-determination. ³
Chapter in Book
Type of thesis
Te Aho, L. (2017). The ‘false generosity’ of treaty settlements: innovation and contortion. In International Indigenous Rights in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 99–117). Wellington: Victoria University Press.
Victoria University Press
© 2017 copyright with the author.