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The Treaty of Waitangi, an explanation; Te Tiriti o Waitangi, he whakamarama.

The Conflicting Parts

[ko te tohutoro i roto i te reo Māori]

The Conflicting Parts

In my explanations about article two of the Treaty I did say that there was one part of that article which was still not quite clear, the part about the fishing grounds together with the fresh water lakes, the mud flats, pipi beds and oyster rocks. The reason I am making special mention of these specific matters is that, there seems to be some difficulty or conflict between Articles two and three of the Treaty. Article two states that "The Treaty guarantees to the Maori people their rights and possessions to their lands, their forests and their fisheries." There is no doubt about the lands and forests. But the part in doubt is that which concerns the lakes situated amidst all the land, the mudflats, that is, the lands which become submerged by sea water at high tide. To the Maori these lands page 15belong to him and that is why he considers his rights to these should be established under Article Two of the Treaty. However, I have already explained above that Article Three of the Treaty gave to New Zealand British laws which became effective on the signing of the Treaty and conform with "all the rights and privileges of British Subjects".

British law states that the sea from high water mark to a point three miles out belongs to the Crown. The mudflats, the pipi beds, the oyster rocks and the fishing grounds are all below high water mark. These are conflicting points that have been left in doubt. The voice of Parliament has in no way indicated any legislation which would establish in us ownership of these possessions of our ancestors.

The Arawa case concerning its fresh water lakes is still before the Courts and whether it will be decided there remains to be seen; the case might very well be settled out of Court between the people and the Government. I will not say much about that here. The Supreme Court has however given its decision that the Arawa people proceed with their claim through the Maori Land Court.