2nd February 2018, Volume 131 Number 1469

Heather Came, Rhonda Cornes, Tim McCreanor

Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Māori text) and the Treaty of Waitangi (English version) and the understandings that surround them constitute and codify the relationship between Māori and the Crown. Under…

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Summary

This study examines how public health policy in New Zealand has represented te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi between 2006 to 2016. Twelve of 49 public health strategies and plans reviewed from the Ministry of Health database referred to either treaty text. Crown discourses were categorised as i) rhetoric, ii) aspirational statements, iii) had elements of practical implementation and/or iv) substantive actions. The study confirms public health strategies rarely address Treaty obligations and this silence is inconsistent with legislative requirements to engage with the Treaty and health equity and is likely to inform health-related Waitangi Tribunal claims. Further work needs to be done to strengthen alignment of health policy to fulfil Crown Treaty obligations.

Abstract

Aim

This study examines how public health policy in New Zealand has represented the Treaty of Waitangi (the English version) and te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Māori text) between 2006 to 2016.

Method

A dataset of 49 public health strategies and plans, published between 2006 and 2016, were secured from the New Zealand Ministry of Health database. A thematic analysis using Braun and Clarke’s process was undertaken and then the findings were reviewed against the Māori text of te Tiriti.

Results

Twelve documents referred to either te Tiriti or the Treaty. Crown discourses were characterised as i) rhetorical, ii aspirational, iii) practical and/or iv) substantive. We present a matrix of Crown health strategy and plan discourses and analyse their relationship to te Tiriti.

Conclusion

Public health strategies and plans rarely address Treaty of Waitangi or te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. This silence is inconsistent with legislative requirements to engage with the Treaty and health equity and is likely to inform health-related Waitangi Tribunal claims [WAI 2575]. Further work needs to be done to strengthen alignment of health policy to fulfil Crown obligations under te Tiriti.

Author Information

Heather Came, Senior Lecturer, Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland; Rhonda Cornes, Postgraduate Student, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland; Tim McCreanor, Professor, Te Rōpū Whāriki, Massey University, Auckland.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Dr Nicole Coupe for her feedback on this paper.

Correspondence

Heather Came, Senior Lecturer, Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research, School of Public Health and Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Private Bag 92006, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland.

Correspondence Email

heather.came@aut.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Dr Came reports being co-chair of STIR: Stop Institutional Racism—this is a nationwide network of activist scholars and public health practitioners committed to eliminating institutional racism in the health sector.

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