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David V Williams

Ngāti Pākehā o Aotearoa

Dr David V Williams is a Professor Emeritus at Waipapa Taumata Rau / University of Auckland. He has tertiary qualifications in history, law and theology and a PhD from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (where he taught in the 1970s). For 46 years he was an academic specialising in research and writing on law in society and legal history. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Society for Legal History and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand / Te Apārangi. In the Citizens’ Association for Racial Equality (CARE) he was a political activist on issues affecting Māori and Pacific peoples during the 1970s and 1980s. From 1992 he was an independent researcher specialising in research relevant to Tiriti o Waitangi claims. In March 2023 he was appointed a Member of the Waitangi Tribunal / Te Rōpu Whakamana i Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The pursuit of Tiriti justice: An activist scholar perspective

Many people gathered on Takaparawhau at dawn on 25 May 2023 to honour those who 45 years ago had stood with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for 506 days in support of the call that “Bastion Point is Māori Land”. That occupation has come to be recognised as a major step forward in the pursuit of Tiriti justice since the 1970s. The slogans have changed from “The Treaty is Fraud”, to “Stop the Celebrations”, to “Honour the Treaty”. There has been resistance to Te Tiriti being reframed as “the principles of the Treaty”. There has been debate about what was meant by the rangatiratanga guarantee to Māori but no doubt that the guarantees have been breached on countless occasions. This talk involves story-telling by a scholar/activist who has changed his mind on how to frame the issues over the years, and on how best to pursue Tiriti justice.

David V Williams
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