Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake
The concept of Tino Rangatiratanga is part of a rich and ongoing debate in Maori society. Roughly the word 'tino' is an intensifier and the word 'rangatiratanga' broadly speaking relates to the exercise of 'chieftainship'. Its closest english translation is self-determination -although many also refer to it as 'absolute sovereignty'or Maori independence / Maori Sovereignty. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Maori have with 'Papatuanuku' (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous people for self determination.
The most contentious phrase from the Treaty of Waitangi, tino rangatiratanga has become something of a rallying cry for proponents of Māori sovereignty.
A rangatira is a chief, the suffix -tanga implies the quality or attributes of chieftainship, and the addition of intensifier tino in this context means the phrase can be translated as 'absolute/unqualified chieftainship'. Its closest English translation is self-determination, although many also refer to it as 'absolute sovereignty' or Māori independence. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Māori have with Papatuanuku (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous people for self determination. As such, the unofficial flag of the Māori peoples is often referred to as the Flag of tino rangatiratanga. The flag was designed by Hiraina Marsden, Jan Smith and Linda Munn in 1990.
In article one of the Treaty's English text the Māori signatories ceded their sovereignty to the British Crown. The Māori text of the translation used the missionary neologism 'kawanatanga' (= 'governorship') to approximate this concept. This word was based on the transliteration "Kawana" (= 'governor'), which had been invented by Bible translators, to explain Pontius Pilate's authority in Judaea. Kawana was also used prior to 1840 to describe the Governor of New South Wales.
In article two of the Treaty, the Māori text assured the signatories that their tino rangatiratanga would remain undisturbed, along with their continued possession of their lands and other taonga.
This apparent inconsistency in the Māori text of the Treaty has led to much debate as to whether the Māori signatories intended to cede their sovereignty to the British Crown at all, with some Māori claiming vestigial Māori sovereignty remains.
Aside from the legal controversy of 'sovereignty' versus 'kawanatanga', many Māori see the Treaty as a charter to choose their own way of life within the framework of law, but free of external interference in taonga such as language and culture.
Mana Motuhake - He aha tera? by Tame Iti (Video)
“The most important thing for me really to talk about is the issue about Mana Motuhake - Tino Rangatiratanga. It's an issue that we need to process in the year of the election, more important than the election. The issue of Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake is an issue that we all need to talk about. It's a take (‘cause”)… I'm not going to talk to you about it today. But it's a take that every whanau (‘family’) and hapu ('subtribe') need to take it back to their whanau, to their hapu. He aha tera? He aha te Mana Motuhake? (‘What is that? What is Mana Motuhake?’) It's not something that we should be scared of. It not be something that people ought to be to the point that what happened last year that they had to send their spy there to kill me and many others. Not very nice when something like that happens to you.
But Mana Motuhake is about freedom. Free to be a Tuhoe and free to be Nga Puhi and free to be a Waikato. To me Mana Motuhake is about that. And free to be a Pakeha. And free to be anyone of those things. […] I'm not here to preach about it. […] We need to take that take to your whanau, to your children, to your kohanga reo, and we gotta do it! We gotta do it. […] And so we need to open our eyes and our ears… and see Mana Motuhake as something that's beautiful. And it's for you, for me and for the future. And don't get locked up in this hype about nothing.”
“Tūhoe nation describes the culture, language and identity of a people who still have a memory, through oral tradition, of pre-european Tūhoetanga and remember that free men don’t volunteer to be slaves“
Tāmati Kruger - October 2007
Te Mana Motuhake ō Tūhoe - A united front. Liberation for all!
The Tino Rangatiratanga flag
The flag was designed in 1990 by Hiraina Marsden, Jan Smith and Linda Munn, and was the winning design in a national contest to find a "Maori Flag". It has become largely synonymous with Tino Rangatiratanga.
Red, white and black are colours with strong Maori heritage.
BLACK represents Te Korekore (the realm of potential being). It thus symbolises the long darkness from which the earth emerged, as well as signifying Rangi - the heavens, a male, formless, floating, passive force.
WHITE represents Te Ao Marama (the realm of being and light). It symbolises the physical world, purity, harmony, enlightenment and balance.
RED represents Te Whei Ao (coming into being). It symbolises Papatuanuku, the earth-mother, the sustainer of all living things, and thus both the land and active forces.
The spiral-like KORU, symbolic of a curling fern frond, represents the unfolding of new life, hope for the future and the process of renewal.