Friday, February 6, 2009

Darryl Gardiner on the Treaty of Waitangi

How should Christians in NZ respond to the history surrounding the Treaty of Waitangi? Here is one attempt at a Biblical response. Let me know what you think :-)


  1. G'day Jonathan,

    I heard Darryl Gardiner speak on this years ago when I was at a TSCF leaders camp in Paraparaumu. I've held that same view ever since.

    One thing, however, that occurred me (and I didn't really have a good read of the article, so he may have addressed it there) was that David was asked to kill 7 people, and did so. How far,then, does God expect us to go in fulfilling the wishes of Maori, because, if David is a guide, we are to go a looooong way if asked. How do you escape the implication that those of the sinned-against community can ask even for the death of people and the covenant-breaking community has to fulfill that?

    My solution has been to allow for appeal on points that the covenant-breakers are just unable to fulfill. For instance, a Church would not be able to kill someone, nor would it be able to break up a marriage, and so if asked to that, could appeal to the sinned-against community for a change. (You could even take Ezekiel's appeals to God not to eat human excrement as an example). Of course, this opens up the possibility of watering down the whole thing, but I think Darryl is right that Maori (and most others who have been similarly sinned against) are quite reasonable when it comes to matters of conscience - and even the welfare of the covenant-breaking community. As long as the covenant-breaking community is serious in its willingness to be vulnerable, the sinned-against community will respect their consciences.

    Or, at least, that is my take.

  2. Hi Ali, thanks for your thoughts. I think you are on the right track, although living in Oz they have even bigger issues to deal with? History cannot be undone and I think the price Maori might ask of Pakeha could only ever be a fraction of what historically has been done to and taken from them (even if we only count what was done against the Treaty). But the wounds of history can be healed and this is what all Christians should be working hard to acheive.

  3. Not sure I get this comment:

    I think you are on the right track, although living in Oz they have even bigger issues to deal with?

    I'm reading it as saying something I don't think you mean. But then, I don't know what you mean. Help me out here?

    Yes, there are big issues to deal with in Australia, and I've recently spoken to a group about that using Gardiner's thoughts as a basic framework. Christians or not, white Australians need to be able to go to Aborignies and accept collective responsiblity (which was finally done in one instance when the Prime Minister apologised to the stolen generations) and then go further and ask what the Aboriginal peoples (plural) want them to do. When I presented this idea, the younger ones agreed, the older ones didn't.

  4. sorry to confuse. let me rephrase: "i think your solution is on the right track. Do you have any thoughts on the situation of indigenous people in Oz?" which you have provided, so thanks. However, can you still use Darryl's framework in the absence of a treaty?

  5. Sure. The principles are the same in any situation where someone has been sinned against. It's not "legal" but it's a Christian principal that you confess and then make restitution. What is often not spoken of in Christian circles is that the offer of restitution is exactly what Darryl talks about (and David does) - making yourself vunerable.

  6. While I agree with your conclusion, you're method is wrong because Darryl's framework requires a treaty. The Gibeonites could have been genocided if they hadn't made the treaty. There is no principle in this text to suggest restitution to the Aboriginy. So the way Australia was colonised must be shown to be sinful some other way, but OT narrative will not likely provide the key to that. So how would you show it?

  7. Hey there Jonathan,

    I meant to get back to this, but time has been an issue. However, I've just come across an Australian response to the Australian Aboriginal situation that says what I wanted to say but better. Here it is:

    It introduces OT narrative of sinful invasion of other countries added to principles of restitution, which, when put together, show the treaty with the Gibeonites to be the codification of general principles.

    Of course, when you say the Gibeonites could have been "genocided" without a treaty, you are right, but only because that was a mandate from God for that situation. In general, though, God is not impressed with invading and subjugating other nations.

    Have a read and see what you think.

  8. I stand corrected! OT Narrative shows its holistic ethical reach! Good stuff :-)