Skip to main content
The Treaty of Waitangi: Looking Forward
Te Papa Tongarewa, National Museum of New Zealand (2008)
  • Matthew S. R. Palmer

This lecture gives an overview of some of the themes of my forthcoming book on the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand's constitution and law - Where is it and where should it be? The three main points of the lecture are: • First, there is inherent uncertainty in the meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi as it applies to particular issues; that uncertainty existed in 1840 and continues to exist today. • Second, that there is instability in New Zealand's constitutional understandings of whose job it is to interpret the Treaty’s meaning; • Third, I suggest that it would be worth stabilising the legal and constitutional place of the Treaty and one way of doing this, which I favour, is by giving its principles the status of ordinary law, for the future, judged by the ordinary courts.

  • New Zealand,
  • Constitutions,
  • Indigenous
Publication Date
January 31, 2008
Citation Information
Matthew S. R. Palmer. "The Treaty of Waitangi: Looking Forward" Te Papa Tongarewa, National Museum of New Zealand (2008)
Available at: