In this paper I examine how the New Zealand government, through the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process, is providing contemporary reparation for historical injustices against Maori tribes. Because historical injustices involve the interactions of cultures over time, justice in New Zealand’s Treaty settlement process is shaped, and constrained, by two key factors: ‘culture’ and ‘time’. First, I make the case that justice in the Treaty settlement process is only that part of justice that is shared by Maori and the New Zealand Crown and that this shared conception of justice is found in the Treaty of Waitangi (the influence of ‘culture’). Following on from this, I show how the Treaty as the shared standard of justice
limits the justice in the Treaty settlement process in important ways. Second, I argue that because reparation for historical injustice is made in the present, and works into the future, justice in the Treaty settlement process is not full reparative justice (the influence of ‘time’). Rather, although the justice of the Treaty settlement process is by nature reparative, its scope is limited by contemporary, and prospective, justice concerns. I argue, finally, that the Treaty settlement process reflects a reconciliatory approach to reparative justice where the cultural survival of Maori through restoration of the promises of the Treaty is given greater weight than the provision of full reparation for past wrongs.
Gibbs, M. (2005). Justice in New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi settlement process. (CIGAD Working Paper Series 2/2005). Palmerston North, N.Z.: Massey University. Centre for Indigenous Governance and Development.