Three Voices at the Treaty Table: Understanding Co-governance, Three Waters and city redevelopment

April 2024

Dr Alistair Reese 224x300 - Three Voices at the Treaty Table: Understanding Co-governance, Three Waters and city redevelopment

How does Te Tiriti o Waitangi influence co-governance, Three Waters and the redevelopment of Tauranga’s city centre?

Te Kohinga, a Tauranga-based reconciliation network is organising a free event at Baycourt next month to help improve public understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how it affects current events.

Three Voices at the Treaty Table at Baycourt, Tauranga on October 31 at 7pm is being held to respond to local questions about co-governance.

The concept of the hui is the idea of Dr Alistair Reese, whose research centres on reconciliation and Pākehā identity. His research about Te Papa precipitated the Anglican apology to Tauranga Māori in 2018, and contributed to Council understanding of the need to reconcile the Heart of the City.

He says many struggle to understand co-governance.

“There is a lack of understanding about the implementation of the Treaty by the Crown and a variety of Councils. This is in part due to the deficit within our school curriculum. The event provides an opportunity for the public to hear and learn about the positions held by the three parties who initiated, signed and mediated the treaty – the Crown, Māori and the Church.

“It is to help people be more informed about the Treaty, and therefore co-governance, Three Waters and the Tauranga Civic development,” he said.

“What position on the Treaty does the Crown hold that results in their Three Waters proposal? What position do iwi hold that has them pushing for co-governance? What position does the Church hold that motivates them to give land back to iwi?

“People won’t understand co-governance unless they better understand what underpins the logic of co-governance,” he said. “Differences of opinions on these important civic issues will remain, however, it is hoped the event will contribute to a more informed public discussion. Three Waters, Co-governance, and the Downtown redevelopment have not happened in a vacuum. The common denominator is the Treaty,” he says.

“The language of the church formed the language of the Treaty, and the idea that the Treaty was a covenant rather than a contract. It is historically based rather than belief based.

“Unless we understand where the people in governance roles are coming from, and their decision making, we won’t be able to participate in the discussion and dialogue. This will be a platform to give the Crown, tangata whenua and the church – which was a major player in the signing of the Treaty – a chance to explain why they are making these decisions.

Justice Minister Kiritapu Allen will present the Crown’s view of Te Tiriti. She is also Associate Minister of Finance, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Associate Minister for the Environment.

Ngāti Ranginui’s Antoine Coffin will discuss tangata whenua’s view of Te Tiriti and how it has informed Treaty settlements. He is a Māori resource management specialist with expertise in Māori cultural impact and values assessment, cultural and historic heritage planning, and community engagement.

He is a co-director of a heritage and environmental consultancy working across government, local government, and private sector.

SociaLink general manager Liz Davies said SociaLink is supporting the event as it believes
raising awareness of issues such as co-governance can only be good for communities.

Three Voices at the Treaty Table will be held at Baycourt, Tauranga on October 31 from 7pm – 9pm. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers from the audience. Admission is free.