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But rejecting the fashioning of history as an overt tool in the politics of liberation does not of course imply anything about how scholarship might be used by ‘liberationists’ – or anyone else, for that matter.
It should be noted that, as I am primarily an historian of state institutions, this book focuses on the way the Crown attempted to contain, control and assimilate Maori, and the way Maori have responded.
For this reason, some of the book’s subject matter, while examining the relationship between the same parties, differs greatly from that of its predecessor. Until the middle of the twentieth century, Maori were mostly rural dwellers leading lives quite different and separate from the majority of those New Zealanders of European descent who are now generally called pakeha.
Then came mass migration to the large towns and cities, a phenomenon which had major implications for the modes of interaction between the state and Maori institutions and leaders.
In the state’s eyes, Article One provided the indivisible Crown sovereignty that was considered suitable for a ‘settler state’.
Whatever this article implied to Maori, the Crown considered in early 1840 that it had taken unfettered constitutional control of the resources and people of New Zealand.
While most literature on Crown– Maori relations is Treaty-related, then, the analyses in this book are not posited upon that 1840 document or its long history.
Under the pressure of the ‘Maori Renaissance’, however, from the 1970s policies and goals based upon biculturalism began to replace assimilationist measures and aims (although Crown motivations were and remain problematic).This is not to say that the book is based upon the Treaty of Waitangi or the great amount of scholarship focused on it (and nor was , pace some of its reviewers).However central the Treaty to Maori claims and aspirations, Crown–Maori relations reflect circumstances typical of settler colonies and their successor states.Since that time, Maori have generally focused on Article Two of the Treaty, the one which promised them rangatiratanga, a term generally seen as representing some sort of ‘autonomy’ or ability to run their own affairs, but which in the English-language version was rendered as ‘the full exclusive and undisturbed possession’ of land and other properties.The Crown has always, in contrast, focused on Article One, under which Maori ceded to the Queen ‘absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty’ – kawanatanga (‘governorship’) in the Maori version.