Says Historian Michael BelgraveKiwis can be proud of the Maori claim and settlement processes, says historian and Waitangi Tribunal expert Michael Belgrave, the author of Historical Frictions: Maori Claims & Reinvented Histories (Auckland University Press).
Associate Professor at Massey Albany
and Waitangi Tribunal researcher for 18 years, Belgrave
says inquiries and settlements have always been important in dealing with conflict in the present, allowing adjustment to the changing relationship between Maori and the state and keeping alive Maori customary relationships.
In Historical Frictions, Belgrave
also explores the way that the meanings of the Treaty of Waitangi and ‘claim settlements' have changed over time and successive commissions of inquiry, using examples such as the Ngai Tahu
, Taranaki, Muriwhenua and Chatham Island claims.His intimate knowledge of the Maori claim and settlement process began in 1987, when as a young historian he moved, reluctantly, to Wellington to become one of the first Waitangi Tribunal researchers.
"As many of the historians, counsel, claimants and tribunal members themselves worked through these claims", says Belgrave
in the preface to Historical Frictions, "we were privileged to look back on our history in a way that seemed fundamental to key issues about the way New Zealand should deal with its past and, more important, the place of Maori in our society."Historical Frictions: Maori Claims & Reinvented Histories by Michael Belgrave (Auckland University Press assisted by the Ministry for Culture & Heritage) will be launched by celebrated historian Judith Binney on Friday 25 November, during the NZ Historical Association Conference, The University of Auckland.