UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Te Mana Motuhake Me Te Iwi Maori : indigineous self determination Williams, Joseph Victor


Maria Maori Motuhake or Maori self determination is developing into one of the most pressing political and legal issues in modern New Zealand. The Maori struggle for recognition of that right is a long one. It began with contact with British colonisers, and has continued in different forms throughout New Zealand's history. The following thesis suggests that that struggle is one which the Maori share with Indigenous peoples throughout the world. The recognition in law of Mana Maori Motuhake in New Zealand will come from an understanding, by both Maori and Pakeha, of the international nature of that struggle. Accordingly the essential purpose of this thesis is to put the issue of Maori rights into an international and colonial perspective. In Part I, the question of Indigenous self determination is discussed in the context of historical and contemporary developments in international law. It is concluded firstly that there is room for the proposition that a right of Indigenous self determination can be drawn from the current state of international law. Secondly, it is argued that recent developments in the United Nations suggest positive recognition of that right will occur in the near future. In Part II, the development of colonial law in the United States, Canada and New Zealand add a further dimension to this international perspective. In this part parallel developments in the three countries are highlighted to prove the 'indivisibility' of colonialism, and the inexorable development in modern law toward recognition of the 'colonial paradigm'- Native title and Native sovereignty.

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