This article considers research conducted on the impact of the Crown’s treaty claims settlement policy on Māori in New Zealand. It provides a brief background to the Treaty of Waitangi and the subsequent British colonisation process that relied on the Doctrine of Discovery in breach of the treaty. It outlines how colonisation dispossessed Māori of 95 percent of their lands and resources, usurped Māori power and authority and left them in a state of poverty, deprivation and marginalisation while procuring considerable wealth, prosperity and privilege for British settlers. The work of the Waitangi Tribunal, the commission of inquiry set up to investigate those breaches, is considered, as is the Crown’s reaction to the 1987 Lands
case in developing its treaty claims settlement policy. The Crown unilaterally imposed the policy despite vehement opposition from Māori. Since 1992, it has legislated more than seventy ‘settlements’. The research shows that overall, the process has traumatised claimants, divided their communities, and returned on average less than one percent of their stolen lands. Proposals for constitutional transformation have drawn widespread support from Māori as a solution to British colonisation. United Nations treaty-monitoring bodies have recommended that the government discuss this with Māori.
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