Every tauiwi, pākeha and immigrant household in Aotearoa New Zealand would benefit from a copy of Morris’ Te Tiriti comic book. To be effective Treaty partners, it is important that we understand our shared history and how we have gotten to where we are today as a country. This Treaty of Waitangi comic book simply and effectively illustrates this history by stepping through the timeline before, during and after the signing of our Treaty. As Morris states in the beginning, “The Treaty is one of the most important parts of our country’s history. It’s about all of us, and this means we all need to understand it.”
Although very basic, Morris steps through some of the repercussions we are still experiencing today because of the Treaty, how the mis-translation and misunderstanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi led to war and stealing land, culture and language from Māori (despite Māori being promised tino rangatiratanga – absolute authority – over their land, villages and taonga).
The consequences from what happened back in the 19th century is still felt today and Morris concludes with a wero (challenge) to the reader to keep thinking and striving to fix the harm that was (and continues to be) done.
The book is in both English and Te Reo Māori, which is readable even for those of us with little to no knowledge of te reo Māori. I recommend reading both versions to keep learning and picking up new kupu (words). This also provides the opportunity for us to appreciate the importance of language and translation.
Although not the only educational resource needed in Aotearoa around the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, this comic book is a great start for anyone interested.
Review by Maisie Thursfield, Senior Policy Analyst, MHF