5. Myths of a ‘real’ Treaty and 4th article
Over the past two decades, some have alleged there is a “real” Treaty – the so-called “Littlewood Treaty” – that has been concealed because it contains a different set of provisions. Such conspiratorial claims are easily dispelled.
The text of the Littlewood Treaty is known, and it is merely a handwritten copy, of the actual Treaty. And, most obviously, it cannot be regarded as a treaty on the basis that no one signed it.
Another popular myth is that there is a fourth article of the Treaty, which purportedly guarantees religious freedom. This article does not appear in either the Māori or English texts of the Treaty and there is no evidence the signatories regarded it as a provision of the agreement.
It is a suggestion that emerged in the 1990s but lacks any evidential or legal basis.
Finally, there is the argument the Treaty supports the democratic process. In fact, the Treaty ushered in a non-representative regime in the colony.
It was the 1852 New Zealand Constitution Act that gave the country a democratic Government – a statute that incidentally made no reference to the Treaty’s provisions.
This list is not exhaustive. But in dispensing with areas of poor interpretation, we can improve the chances of a more informed and productive discussion about the Treaty.
Paul Moon is a history professor at the Auckland University of Technology.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article here.