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The Waitangi Tribunal in the Context of New Zealand’s Political Culture and Historiography

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image of Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international

One of the most elaborate systems of investigation into any nation’s colonial past is New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal, first set up in 1975, and which has now issued over 100 major reports on all aspects of the history of Maori interaction with the colonial state. The Waitangi Tribunal also exemplifies some particular features of the legal history of the Treaty of Waitangi, which in New Zealand has become seen as semi-constitutional text which forms an internal standard for legal investigations and for negotiation of redress. Current developments in New Zealand are highly consistent with long-established state practice, where relationships between the state and Maori have always been a matter of legal and political importance. Although the Waitangi Tribunal has some features in common with truth commissions in other countries, in many ways it is quite different from them.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, Victoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand


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