Critical Tiriti Analysis: A Prospective Policy Making Tool from Aotearoa New Zealand
Restrictions on Indigenous peoples’ contributions to policymaking pervade post-settler societies like Australia, Canada and Aotearoa. Such effects are observed in spite of agreements like Te Tiriti o Waitangi in Aotearoa and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Te Tiriti, negotiated between the British Crown and Māori (Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa), may have been entered into honourably by both parties, but the Crown has consistently resisted its implementation. Contemporary colonialism is characterised by the entrenched and on-going displacement of Indigenous people’s authority by settler states, rationalised by race as a determinant of human worth. Impacts include land alienation, unsustainable resource exploitation and marginalising Indigenous voices from opportunities to make policy consistent with Indigenous values and preferred ways of living. Colonialism normalises institutional racism so that public policy outcomes are persistently unjust. This article describes Critical Tiriti Analysis (CTA), an original contribution to transforming colonial policy, which retrospectively evaluates whether any specific policy document is consistent with Te Tiriti. Substantial interest in CTA from policymakers, practitioners, and scholars led to the development of the tool as a prospective guide to making policy that is consistent with authoritative interpretations of Te Tiriti, and therefore, more likely effective in producing public policies which eliminate inequities. CTA was initially focused on health policy and built on a series of questions that arise from our interpretations of the text of Te Tiriti, contemporary Tiriti scholarship and jurisprudence, and our observations of the ways in which the method is being used by ourselves and others. Although deeply grounded in Aotearoa, we argue that CTA may be transferable to other colonial contexts, such as the Australian where treaties between First Nations and the state are being contemplated, and Canada which has passed legislation to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.