After the “occupation” of New Zealand’s terra nullius by the English, the country went through a constitutionally atypical development. For a long time, it was believed that the Maori population would disappear due to the influence of new diseases abroad, displacement from their lands and, finally, an internal war (that of “muskets”) between different “iwi” (or people). Maori. But this premonition, which would give absolute supremacy to Europeans, never happened. At the end of the Musket War, Europeans in New Zealand had to accept the harsh reality of their coexistence with a large number of indigenous people, who, although rejected and despised, could not hide under the stones.
In recognition of this fact, the colony of New Zealand had to sign, in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi. This agreement established two atypical principles for the colonial experience of the time. Article 1 states that the Maori chiefs and people recognize the sovereignty of the English monarch; but article 2 readily affirms that English sovereignty recognizes, for its part, “the chiefs and tribes, their families and their respective individuals” the exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands , fisheries and forests and any other property. individual “as long as they want to keep them.” The first is the principle of government (or government) and the second is the principle of rangatiratanga (or self-determination).
The calculation of the British government after the signing of the treaty was that the removal could be completed, not by forced colonization, but by “autonomy of the will” (“as long as they want to preserve it”). Fortunately this prediction did not materialize and the Maori were integrated into the global economy, like their neighbors and fellow Europeans, selling timber, meat, butter and mining products. Through this route they have achieved a certain stabilization of the population and its economy (which is now 15% of the population of New Zealand) and a certain status that allows them to participate, as alike, in the wars of the world. Because of this historical and constitutional particularity, Maori find their place in a bicultural parliamentary democracy.
After Waitangi, the participation of the Polynesian population in the European wars and the arrival of a certain cultural pluralism, the Maori were better placed (better than other indigenous groups) to negotiate for of New Zealand’s cultural identity. Although the Maori do not yet have the same per capita income as the population of European origin, however, it is clear to foreign tourists that the “country brand” is a strategic mix between a “new England” of south and a Polynesian space. Maori who also received high recognition.
The “new England” was found in many movements: left-hand driving, social order and national entry into world markets. On the other hand, the whole country has a Maori cultural imprint, even beyond the members of the ethnic group and their iwi: there is a structured presence of the language in the public space, there is significant functional bilingualism (not only among Maori, but also among neo-Europeans), Maori politics are well represented in regional and national bodies and the presence of Aboriginal culture is strongly felt.
An example of the latter attracts attention: the Maori have a common house in their villages where they carry out political and ritual actions of the whole community. These houses are called “marae” and are used for meetings, celebrations, funerals, etc. The house has a welcoming anteroom, a main meeting room and service areas (such as the bathroom and kitchen). The marae has a community spirit and is considered a living ceremonial space: the structural work and wooden sculptures that are so common throughout the Polynesian space contribute to this. The marae also served to conduct the Rangatahi courts, native judges who did not form a “special” or independent jurisdiction, but were conceived as another head of national jurisdiction.
Well: many public schools in New Zealand (actually 127, according to a response to a petition by the Ministry of Education), have buildings or visible forms of marae with their corresponding cultural and symbolic characteristics.
Aotearoa is the Maori name of New Zealand: today it is the official name of the country, the native name of “New Europe” which they want to call “New Zealand”.
What, what is it, is the native name for the piece of land they call “New Granada” and then “Colombia”?
These are some of the reasons that I see in the extreme constitutional multiculturalism of Aotearoa and that it is difficult to see in a Hispanic Colombia that has never recognized the cultural and political equality of the indigenous peoples.