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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 700232 12-Oct-2012 15:42 Send private message

pcheroes: 

My dispute is with the LAW that enables this - not Maori.


It appears we have reached common ground, wow and on an internet forum too! I agree with you. I to blame the laws enable the few with power to take advantage of the weak. 

pcheroes: But the powerful ______ can exploit the current state of laws which are in their favour. Instead they horde it and grow even wealthier and more powerful. 


I'm not calling anybody names and I'm just asking you this because you seem like a reflective and intelligent person. 

If we put a different group of people, any different group, in the gap from your quote above do you think it would make a difference to public perception? 




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

gzt

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  Reply # 700234 12-Oct-2012 15:44 Send private message

6FIEND: Specifically, in the context of 1840, Taonga meant "Posessions obtained by the spear"  a.k.a. the spoils of war.  ("Tao" = "Spear" -> Taonga indicates 'From the Spear')  as per the 1820 Maori dictionary produced in consultation with Ngapuhi Chief Hongi Hika.

Further evidence of this is in William Willaims' 1837 translation of the New Testament - Matther 6:19-21 uses the word 'taonga' in its reference to 'Worldly Posessions'.  The verse goes on to be even more specific - defining these as items that "...can be devoured by moths and vermin" or "...that thieves can break in and steal"

This attempt at amateur etymology above is just as woeful as similar attempts at 'finding evidence' using amateur archeology which were noted further back in the thread. Really, whoever started this kind of thing you are quoting should go to university or something and learn about linguistics/etymology in a professional way.

None of these people do for some reason.

First - dictionaries and glossaries of the period contain all kinds of commentary on the origin of words which wider consultation even at the time would have found to be inaccurate or restricted to one sense of meaning. The dictionary from which this definition is taken was created in England by an author who had never visited New Zealand - he was visited by Hika. Further, it is very unlikely that Hika proposed this etymology (in the sense of origin of meaning) of the word.

Second - and this is the worst part by far - taking a Bible verse originally in the English language and claiming the remainder of this verse now defines the outer limits of the concept of property in the Maori language? (face palm..)

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  Reply # 700237 12-Oct-2012 15:48 Send private message

Well not my perception. It just so happens that maori are unfortunately the culture at the centre of this whole debate.

In my view - anybody who tries to claim anything unreasonably I would have disputes with.

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Geek

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  Reply # 700238 12-Oct-2012 15:49 Send private message

By the way - im still new to this forum. How can I quote like you are???

Ahh I think I found it! LOL.

107 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 700264 12-Oct-2012 16:30 Send private message

gzt:
First - dictionaries and glossaries of the period contain all kinds of commentary on the origin of words which wider consultation even at the time would have found to be inaccurate or restricted to one sense of meaning. The dictionary from which this definition is taken was created in England by an author who had never visited New Zealand - he was visited by Hika. Further, it is very unlikely that Hika proposed this etymology (in the sense of origin of meaning) of the word.


So - you disagree.  But you do not provide any contrary evidence? 

The fact remains that Hika was the linguistic consultant for this study of the language of the native peoples of NZ.  You are disagreeing with his record of the meaning of "taonga" as it was commonly understood when the Treaty was signed on what basis exactly?  Because you think it is wrong and you think it unlikely that he would have chosen that meaning?

Wow - we are truly in esteemed company!


gzt:
Second - and this is the worst part by far - taking a Bible verse originally in the English language and claiming the remainder of this verse now defines the outer limits of the concept of property in the Maori language? (face palm..)


I know Wink  ..in fact, the verse was originally written in Hebrew - but let's not let that get in the way of a self-indulgent pat-on-the-back eh?   The reason that I included this is because it is the "Poster Child" that modern-day Maori linguists hold up as being "proof" that Taonga=Treasures.  (the bit where it states, "...put aside your worldly posessions and instead store up treasure in Heaven.")    ...conveniently ignoring the piece where it gets specific in it's definition of "worldly posessions" and metaphoric when speaking of 'spiritual capital'.

Perhaps rather than 'shooting the messenger', you might instead offer up a shred of evidence that the message is inaccurate?

gzt

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  Reply # 700353 12-Oct-2012 18:10 Send private message

6FIEND: The fact remains that Hika was the linguistic consultant for this study of the language of the native peoples of NZ.  You are disagreeing with his record of the meaning of "taonga" as it was commonly understood when the Treaty was signed on what basis exactly?  Because you think it is wrong and you think it unlikely that he would have chosen that meaning?

I do not say it is wrong, but given the circumstances as I outlined earlier there is good reason to believe it is incomplete.

But I'm not sure why this matters so much to you. Either way this definition does not make any difference at all to your argument either way as far as I can tell.

gzt: Second - and this is the worst part by far - taking a Bible verse originally in the English language and claiming the remainder of this verse now defines the outer limits of the concept of property in the Maori language? (face palm..)

6FIEND: The reason that I included this is because it is the "Poster Child" that modern-day Maori linguists hold up as being "proof" that Taonga=Treasures.  (the bit where it states, "...put aside your worldly posessions and instead store up treasure in Heaven.")    ...conveniently ignoring the piece where it gets specific in it's definition of "worldly posessions" and metaphoric when speaking of 'spiritual capital'.

The poster child that modern day Maori linguists hold up? I can see why it is important to you but I have honestly not heard of this. Can you provide an example where this Bible verse is used for this purpose?

Also I assume it is your point of view that -taonga does not equal treasures- but I am unsure why you are asserting this and how this helps your argument.

It appears to be your point of view that taonga must be something that (a) can be obtained/held by force of arms and (b) must also be something that can be eaten by vermin as defined in the Bible. [Edit: The first part I don't see how it matters either way. The second part just seems completely irrelevant and I cannot see how you have come to accept it as having any bearing on the matter at hand]

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 701264 15-Oct-2012 09:38 Send private message

gzt: But I'm not sure why this matters so much to you. Either way this definition does not make any difference at all to your argument either way as far as I can tell.


The definition of "taonga" as being "posessions" rather than "treasures" is one of the fundamental areas of contention between the two translations of the Treaty. 

The English version states: 
"Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession"
The Maori version states: (taken from earlier in the thread)
"Ko te Kuini o IngarangiThe queen of EnglandKa whakariteWill arrangeKa whakaaeAgreesKi nga rangatiraTo the chiefsKi nga hapuTo the tribes (sub tribes)Ki nga tangata katoa o Nu TiraniAnd all peoples of NZTe tino rangatiratangaAbsolute authorityKi o ratou whenuaOf their landsO ratou kaingaOf their villagesMe o ratou taonga katoa.And all their treasures."

So, it boils down to: 
"Lands, Estates, Forests, Fisheries and posessions." 
vs.
"Lands, villages and property"   (which is consistent)
or
"Lands, villages and treasures"  (which is not)



gzt: Also I assume it is your point of view that -taonga does not equal treasures- but I am unsure why you are asserting this and how this helps your argument.

It appears to be your point of view that taonga must be something that (a) can be obtained/held by force of arms...


I'm not sure how much clearer I can make it for you.
The English translation of the Treaty says "Property/Posessions"
The Maori translation of the Treaty says "Taonga" ...which according to documentation existing at the time meant "Property/Posessions"

...but since the 1980's, "university educated linguists" have twisted the meaning of the word Taonga to be defined as "Treasures".  Which is fine - who am I to say that Te Reo should not be a living/evolving language?

However, it has been retrospectively applied to the Treaty of Waitangi, and has thus given rise to the premise that under Article 2;
 * Maori don't only own their lands - they own the airwaves above it as well, and thus are owed a cut from the Radio Spectrum Sales. 
 * That they own the water that flows through their rivers or collects in their lakes, thus they are owed a cut from Hydro Power Generation. 
 * That they own the wind that blows through their forests, thus they are owed a cut of any wind farm sales.

...which is disingenuous, and doing nothing except prevent ancient wounds from healing and knee-capping legitimate treaty grievances from being settled.

gzt

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  Reply # 701669 15-Oct-2012 18:11 Send private message

Thank you for the clarification. I see what you are getting at now. You are claiming that "university educated linguists" changed the meaning of the word taonga from what it was at the treaty signing.

Your source for your limited definition of the word taonga is "A Grammar and Vocabulary of the Language of New Zealand". Samuel Lee, Thomas Kendall, London Missionary Society, 1820, London.

Take a look: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-KenGramm-t1-body-d3-d15.html

This is not a dictionary as you previously claimed. It is a rough language learning guide. The authors were well aware this document did not include every sense of every word - and it is obvious.

To take just one example at random this vocab has one entry for Matariki - "Pleiades". Would you like to claim this word was never used in any other sense just because it has a one word definition in this vocab? Of course not.

It seems like a great example of conspiracy thinking.

Anyway - it is all the more silly because - Waitangi Tribunal decisions related to radio spectrum do not hinge on the definition of the word taonga at all.

6FIEND:

However, it has been retrospectively applied to the Treaty of Waitangi, and has thus given rise to the premise that under Article 2;
  • Maori don't only own their lands - they own the airwaves above it as well, and thus are owed a cut from the Radio Spectrum Sales.  
  • That they own the water that flows through their rivers or collects in their lakes, thus they are owed a cut from Hydro Power Generation.  
  • That they own the wind that blows through their forests, thus they are owed a cut of any wind farm sales.


You are starting from an incorrect premise - your claim that everything hinges on the definition of taonga - and drawing an incorrect conclusion.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 701982 16-Oct-2012 11:31 Send private message

gzt:
You are starting from an incorrect premise - your claim that everything hinges on the definition of taonga - and drawing an incorrect conclusion.



You are stating that my premise is incorrect, but have done absolutely nothing to refute it.

I have provided (and provided source info for) THREE separate, verifiable documents that existed at the time the Treaty was signed that all, unanimously correlate "Taonga" with "Property/Posessions" and make absolutely no allusion to any notion of "treasures".

You have provided nothing but ad hominem and misdirection.

gzt: whoever started this kind of thing you are quoting should go to university or something


gzt: I don't see how it matters either way


gzt: a great example of conspiracy thinking


gzt: it is all the more silly



I acknowledge that Samuel Lee's work with Hongi Hika is not a dictionary.  (i used the term for brevity's sake)  ...if you can direct me to any document pre-1840 that gives any hint that "Taonga" refers to something other than property or posessions then I will be happy to discuss this further - but so far, you've offered up nothing whatsoever.

Until then, I will personally hold the opinion that it is doing more harm than good for race relations in NZ to be espousing to all and sundry that "Queen Victoria signed a treaty that promised the Maori Tribes & Chiefs ownership of all their lands and forests and fisheries and everything that they value & cherish or have a spiritual connection to." 

Again, I will keep an open mind, and my opinion may change if you (or anyone else) can provide any evidence that contradicts the examples that I have put forward.

gzt

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  Reply # 702055 16-Oct-2012 13:32 Send private message

6FIEND: I have provided (and provided source info for) THREE separate, verifiable documents that existed at the time the Treaty was signed that all, unanimously correlate "Taonga" with "Property/Posessions" and make absolutely no allusion to any notion of "treasures".

Three documents? 
  1. An 1820's glossary which was clearly not designed to cover every sense of a word - I did a pretty good job of demonstrating that above using the word Matariki but there are any number of similar examples available.
  2. A verse from the Bible which you claim provides a definition like a dictionary? The Bible is not a dictionary.
  3. The Treaty itself? Since that is what we are talking about - that is just completely silly.
Let's look at your bible reference in more depth:

6FIEND: Further evidence of this is in William Willaims' 1837 translation of the New Testament - Matther 6:19-21 uses the word 'taonga' in its reference to 'Worldly Posessions'. The verse goes on to be even more specific - defining these as items that "...can be devoured by moths and vermin" or "...that thieves can break in and steal"

I do not have the Maori text you refer to - but The King James version which Williams would have used as a source is easy to find anywhere if you care to look:

Matthew 6:19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal

Matthew 6:20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal

Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

This is a very common and much quoted passage in the Christian religion. Any member of the Christian religion will tell you the treasure/taonga referred to in this passage is not a material thing at all.

This really does not help your quest.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 702132 16-Oct-2012 16:06 Send private message

I'm opting out of the discussion now, seeing as you patently have nothing to add beyond a simple "you're wrong" and a misrepresentation of what I've said.

I didn't claim that a bible reference "provides a definition like a dictionary" - I said that the bible reference specifies that the 'treasures' in question can be corroded/eroded over time, or made off with by theives. ie. that they are physical posessions. It then (in verses 20-21) makes a metaphysical analogy in a fashion common throughout much of the New Testament. Yes, it's a commonly referred to verse. No, I'm not suggesting that "treasures in heaven" should be taken literally as "stockpiling physical items in a heavenly vault" or any other such nonsense...

My point was (as you've just done here) that people have used this translation to suggest that taonga is associated with more than just physical posessions, instead of what is actually being conveyed. (Namely that JC is urging his followers to accumulate 'spiritual' wealth in that way that they accumulate 'taonga' on earth.)

I may opt back in again if you do find anything actually relevant?
(and by relevant, I mean something more substantial than you're wrong, or thats silly.)

Oh, and this is not my quest at all. Just my opinion and my understanding based on evidential facts.

gzt

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  Reply # 703173 18-Oct-2012 20:16 Send private message

It was not my intention to oppose your interpretation of the passage. My intention was to point out that as with many Bible passages - multiple interpretations are possible. It simply does not support your view of taonga being restricted to physical 'things' only.

6FIEND: ...but since the 1980's, "university educated linguists" have twisted the meaning of the word Taonga to be defined as "Treasures".
 
You have stated you have an open mind and you are open to evidence which refutes your belief that taonga can only be a physical possession. That is good.

The 1957 Williams contains this definition with three proverbs used to illustrate:

Taonga, n. Property, anything highly prized
1. Ko te whiwhi i te taurekareka, i te taonga, i te rawa ranei o te pa horo.
2. Ko to te tangata maori taonga nui tenei, te haka, mo te manuhiri.
3. Kihai i wareware ki tana mea i kitea ai hei taonga mona, ara hei whakakite mai ki ia tangata, ki ia tangata

I asked two different people about these proverbs. Both chose the second as the most relevant. One gave an approximate translation as:

"Haka is one gift man have to greet Visitors. This is in reference to Haka Powhiri [eg; welcoming onto the marae] which isn't necessarily in reference to just the physical nature of Haka Powhiri, but the spiritual aspects as well"

One pointed out a similar item in George Grey's 1928 work Nga Mahi a Nga Tupuna (p.122)

"E tu ana te haka, ko to te tangata māori taonga nui tenei mo te manuhiri"

She gave an approximate translation as "Haka were performed as this was a great treasure of human beings for guests"

You will agree already - this proverb contains a strong sense of cultural knowledge - haka in this case - being valued.

One person also pointed to Ngata's (d1950) words given to encourage a child in her pursuit of education:

E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tō ao;
ko to ringaringa ki ngā rākau a te Pākehā hei oranga mō tō tinana;
ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga o ō t?puna hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga.
Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.

Grow tender shoot for the days of your world.
Turn your hand to the tools of the Pākehā for the wellbeing of your body.
Turn your heart to the treasures of your ancestors as a crown for your head.
Give your soul unto God the author of all things.

Ngata is clearly referring to the child's cultural and spiritual heritage.

You can now agree that the word taonga may refer to cultural heritage at the least - and that there may also be spiritual aspects not discussed here in detail which are also worthy of your attention.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 703464 19-Oct-2012 12:16 Send private message

Thank you - I certainly do appreciate you taking the time to compose a response such as that.

(and I will admit that using the word "twisted" was probably inappropriate on my part, as was my 1980's assertion - but I do still maintain that the meaning of the word has 'evolved' over time, as is perfectly reasonable in any language.)

The concern that I have with your examples above is that they are all written roughly 100years after the Treaty was signed.

I am happy to accept that "taonga" now refers to much, much more than "physical property" and may well have done so for over a century.  But the only literary evidence that I have seen from circa. 1840 was relating exclusively to property or posessions.

To use a (hypothetical) illustration of my own - I'm sure that most of us can imagine that if the phrase "Gay Adoption" happened to be included in legislation back in the 1930's, 40's, etc that nobody at the time would have considered that it meant anything other than describing a happy and joyful re-homing of an orphan child.  (Despite the fact that homosexuality was still illegal at the time)  ...but the context is somewhat different 70 or so years later on.

Now I apologise if using a topical issue such as this (complete with its own set of stereotypes & predjudices) as an analogy causes any offence to anyone - it was not intended in any way.

(also - a quick apology to the OP - this has gone well off the original topic Embarassed)

gzt

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  Reply # 703584 19-Oct-2012 15:54 Send private message

6FIEND: The concern that I have with your examples above is that they are all written roughly 100years after the Treaty was signed.

The proverb used to illustrate the definition of taonga in the Williams above is from a work by George Grey -"Ko nga mahinga a nga tupuna Maori" - collected from a variety of informants and published in 1854.

I am glad you no longer believe the definition was changed in the 1980's to suit a particular purpose - perhaps you will now have a more skeptical attitude to information presented in that way.

In case it is of additional interest to you - both people I asked for translations explained to me that taonga as other than physical property is also shown by many well known ancient chants and proverbs. Both provided examples but these were not available online for easy reference. My guess is a specialist collection or university library would be the best place to find the earliest printed or written work.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 708212 29-Oct-2012 09:26 Send private message

Nevertheless - these examples were written more than a decade AFTER the Treaty was signed - and most importantly translated in the 21st century context, rather than the early 19th century context.

Are you able to point me to any translation prior to 1840 that shows that "Taonga" refers to anything other than "Property" or "Posessions"?

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