By Midland regional Coordinator, Yi Small.


In 2017 People First 2- day Leadership Forum, Midland region 5 member representatives with coordinator and 2 assistants presented a project – The Treaty of Waitangi. That was the first time having the Treaty as a project in leadership forum. It went very well. However, we felt that the time allowed was far too short, the audiences didn’t learn the history necessary to put the Treaty in context, and understand the complex issues.


The 5 representatives felt strongly that it is necessary to have a workshop of the Treaty in Midland region. We therefore talked to all midland groups and they wanted to have a Marae Hui (marae stay) for regional meeting in 2018. They thought that Marae would be a great place to talk about Te Tiriti. The decision had been made by the groups which midland would have a 2-day marae stay hui in March 2018.



  • 5 Midland Regional Committee members.
  • Tauranga 2 members
  • Rotorua 1 members
  • Hamilton 2 members
  • Whakatane 2 members
  • Te Awamutu 2 members
  • Gisborne 2 members.


A summary of the workshop

1. Pre-Treaty: The limited fighting and conflict resolution (through intermarriage) between neighbouring tribes before Pakeha arrived was discussed.

2. Treaty: This was talked over with plain language versions of the texts.

3. Post-Treaty – 19th century: The loss of Maori people through wars and disease. More and more Pakeha flooded in.This effect of this century on Maori was summarised as:

  • Loss of power
  • Loss of people
  • Loss of land

4. Post-Treaty – 20th century: Maori moved from tribal areas into cities where they were amongst Pakeha and English language was the norm.  This century was summarised as: Loss of culture.

5. The Treaty today were briefly summarised as: Maori should be able to make decisions for Maori. This was likened to people with learning disability being able to make decisions for themselves.

What People First leaders need to know:

  • Understand the difference between Maori version and English version of Te Tiriti.
  • Always respect the Maori members in People First.
  • Build strong Maori leadership.
  • Self – advocacy (speaking up for your rights) is making Te Tiriti real in People First.