The people of Waitangi, New Zealand welcomed Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand’s far north on Wednesday to mark the latest step towards finally fulfilling the promise of New Zealand’s founding document.
Taituha’s ancestors were among the 40 Māori leaders who signed the Treaty of Waitangi with representatives of Prince Charles’s great-great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, at the site in 1840. Hundreds of chiefs around the country signed soon after.
The Treaty guaranteed widespread rights to the indigenous tribes, known as iwi, but was often ignored in the decades that followed. Different versions of the document sparked long-running debates over what was intended by the agreement.
Only now, after years of fighting for redresses of historic breaches was the Treaty finally beginning to be widely recognised as a core part of modern New Zealand life, said Taituha, who is the cultural ambassador of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
“There’s a huge shift occurring in Aotearoa (New Zealand) at the moment which is causing a reawakening within the hearts, minds, and souls of our people. The time feels right,” he told Reuters of Charles’s visit.