Layla Christison, Youth perspective, Living a Treaty-based Future

If you live in Aotearoa you’re either Tangata Whenua or you’re Tangata Tiriti – here thanks to the welcome laid out at Waitangi in 1840.

The Treaty is our foundation as a nation and the positive relationship it promises will be addressed by a series of prominent speakers over four free Thursday night forums in Napier and Hastings.

These four talks are for everyone but particularly those keen to hear how the Treaty is key to New Zealand’s harmonious future. There might be bumps in the road, but the younger generation especially understand the path we’re on and why honouring Te Tiriti is not just the right thing to do, it’s inevitable and is in fact, the only way forward.

There is a growing awareness amongst non-Maori that if you trample on the Treaty, you’re trampling on the mana of everyone – Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti alike. As one of our nation’s foundational documents, our honour and Te Tiriti’s honour can’t be separated.

As Pakeha, when we speak up for Te Tiriti, we’re both acknowledging we’ve not held up the end of the bargain settlers struck and saying it’s not too late to put that right. If we’re honest with ourselves, we won’t stand comfortably on this land until we do.

Andrew Judd’s June 13 talk at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Napier will discuss what does it mean to be Tangata Tiriti and how Tangata Tiriti can be proactive. A former New Plymouth mayor, Andrew is a powerful speaker who describes himself as a recovering racist. MC is Nick Ratcliffe of Sustainable HB.

The audience will have the opportunity to put forward written questions to be addressed during a panel discussion on each of the four evenings.
The series continues fortnightly on Thursdays. 

On June 27 at St Matthew’s church in Hastings, veteran community campaigner Denis O’Reilly from Waiohiki and Central Hawke’s Bay author Mary Kippenberger will help the audience lift their eyes to the future with a talk called Imagining Matariki 2050. MC is the Rev. Jill McDonald.

On July 11 at St Paul’s in Napier, the topic is What does honouring the Treaty  look like? The panel that night is HB Regional Councillor Martin Williams, Aucklander Kirsty Fong of Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga and Napier-based Treaty educator and podcaster Gwyn John. MC is Napier City Councillor Hayley Browne.

The series concludes with Living a Treaty-based future – a youth perspective at St Matthew’s in Hastings on July 25. Speakers at the youth night include Te Uranga Lee Belk and Piripi Winiata of Hastings firm Kawea Law, Layla Christison, a recent graduate of the University of Auckland Bachelor of Health Sciences who now works for Te Kura i Awarua Rangahau Māori Centre at EIT, and researcher Henry Lyons. MC is Nick Ratcliffe.

All nights doors open 6.30 for tea, talks start at 7pm, finishing at 9pm.

Organisations supporting the free lecture series include the Waipureku Waitangi Trust, Sustainable Hawke’s Bay, Tangata Tiriti Aotearoa, St Matthew’s Anglican Church and St Paul’s Presbyterian Church.


Join the Conversation


  1. Thanks for organising this Neill and Tangata Tiriti! The more we know the better we will be.

  2. Is the wonderful person who is the promoter for publicising Te Tiriti the Neill Gordon who read the John Cooksey’s poem Troop Horse #61 at this year’s inaugural Purple Poppy Day commemoration? I will attend.

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