Every year Waitangi Day provides a useful basis to reflect on our nationhood and the common historical grounds that brought us all together. At the same time it reminds us about the relationship between Te Tiriti o Waitangi, hauora, health and wellbeing. For HPF, Waitangi Day emphasises the importance of good human and societal relationships between all people. HPF’s Deputy Executive Director explains the close relationship between hauora, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Health Promotion Forum.
HPF has a constitutional arrangement premised on two important factors; firstly an adherence to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and secondly the notion of health and wellbeing as an indomitable human right.
When we dissect the story we find information that supports the view that Te Tiriti o Waitangi was in part motivated by the declining health status of Māori. In 1832 James Busby, in communication with Lord Normandy decried the “miserable condition of the natives” much of which was a result of the pre-Treaty effects of unmanaged colonisation. Indeed when we look into the body of the language within Te Tiriti itself we see a direct correlation to health and wellbeing and the legal obligation to protect rights that ensure this. To begin with the preamble declares Queen Victoria’s desire to protect the authority of the chiefs to the own authority and infers a commitment to a peaceful future.
The 3 Articles and health
Article the First touches on the rights of sovereignty and the notion of governance. Good governance in any circumstance would require that those in power provide the resources and infrastructure that supports health and wellbeing for all citizens. Health promoters recognise that this reinforces the need to increase health equity and to accord the appropriate resources to ensure this happens.
Article the Second confers and affirms Māori rights to Tino Rangatiratanga or absolute sovereignty. This includes domain over everything held precious and their lands. Under this article, Māori would consider health to be a taonga. In the wider sense this article speaks about having authority and control over the determinants of health and wellbeing.
Article the Third relates to the idea of equal citizenship. In the field of health this, as with Article the Third, communicates the idea of health equity. That is, all people have the right to hauora. This of course resonates with the health promotion principles of social justice and fairness.
For HPF, Waitangi Day emphasises the importance of good human and societal relationships between all people. It connects with “hauora- everyone’s right” the vision of HPF and builds on the notion of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a crucial component in moving Aotearoa New Zealand towards a just and equitable society.
Read more about Māori concepts of hauora.
6 February 2014