Small stories, small acts in sites of struggle: the establishmentof Māori wards in Taranaki

Between 2001 and 2021, the eight iwi of Taranaki entered into Deeds of Settlement with the Crown. These settlements, which saw the Crown acknowledge and apologise for its historical breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, also served to extinguish the rights of Taranaki Māori to seek further redress from the Crown. The Treaty Settlement process over, Taranaki Māori and the many non-Māori that have settled in the rohe (tribal territory) are left to themselves to deal with any lingering tensions, ongoing enmity and forms of structural injustice stemming from the settler-colonial process. This paper is not about the formal processes of colonisation or Crown-initiated attempts to atone for the past through the Treaty Settlement process. Rather, this paper concerns the painstaking work of change undertaken on the ground by local people, Māori and non-Māori alike. It concerns the ‘small stories’ of colonisation, the myriad endeavours of local people working for change in local contexts. In particular, the article concerns the fight for Māori wards on Councils in New Plymouth and South Taranaki, and the extraordinary work done by ordinary people in attempting to forge some kind of future of togetherness in a region riven by the violence of colonisation.
Māori, Māori wards, New Zealand, Taranaki, Te Tiriti o Waitangi
Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal Of Social Sciences Online, 2023