New Treaty, New Tradition
232 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Feb 2017
Release Date:15 Jul 2016
Release Date:15 Jul 2016
Release Date:22 Jul 2016

New Treaty, New Tradition

Reconciling New Zealand and Maori Law

UBC Press

While Indigenous peoples face the challenges of self-determination in a postcolonial world, New Treaty, New Tradition provides a timely look at how the resolution of land claims in New Zealand continues to shape Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures alike. As Canada moves towards reconciliation with its own First Peoples, we can learn much from the Waitangi Treaty example.

Legal cultures change in response to social and economic environments. Inevitably, the settlement of historical land claims has affected issues of identity, rights, and resource management. Interweaving thoughtful analysis with Māori storytelling on legal themes, Carwyn Jones shows how the New Zealand treaty settlement process limits Indigenous authority. At the same time, the author reveals the enduring vitality of Māori legal traditions, making the case that genuine reconciliation can occur only when we recognize the importance of Indigenous traditions in the settlement process.

Drawing on examples from Canada and New Zealand, Jones illustrates how Western legal thought has shaped the claims process, deepening our understanding of treaty work in the former British colonies and providing context for similar work in Canada. As Indigenous self-determination plays out on the world stage, this nuanced reflection brings into focus prospects for the long-term success of reconciliation projects around the globe.

This book will be of interest to scholars and students of law, politics, and Indigenous studies. It will appeal more generally to anyone with an interest in the reconciliation and settlement processes currently underway in many of the former British colonies.


  • 2018, Winner - Early Career Research Excellence Award for the Humanities, Royal Society of New Zealand
  • 2017, Winner -

    Book prize, Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand

  • 2017, Winner -

    Non-fiction politics award, Ngā Kupu Ora Awards

… this is one of the most important books written about Maori law and the Treaty this century. Morgan Godfery, Sunday Star Times
New Treaty, New Tradition is beautifully written, and its engaging style renders complex Maori legal concepts accessible to Canadian scholars, students, and the general public. Readers will come away not only with an understanding of Maori legal traditions but also with an appreciation of the principles informing Indigenous thinking in many jurisdictions, including British Columbia. Neil Vallance, BC Studies
This book breaks important new ground in Māori studies. Even more impressive is Jones’s masterful use of a variety of critical methodologies and scholarship that can be applied to the contemporary human rights situation of Indigenous peoples around the world. In an analysis thoroughly grounded in Māori language and storytelling traditions, Jones reveals a powerful new way of using Indigenous knowledge to critique, reform, and undermine the grounding assumptions of the West’s racist, colonial legal regimes and systems of non-Indigenous governmentality and law imposed on Indigenous peoples. Robert A. Williams Jr., author of Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization
New Treaty, New Tradition is a tour de force. Intricately argued and beautifully sculpted, this book is useful to both scholars and Indigenous peoples around the world engaged in treaty and resource recovery negotiations. Margaret Mutu, author of The State of Māori Rights
Carwyn Jones has written a book that will enrich the popular discourse of Indigenous politics, governance, decolonization, and resurgence. Val Napoleon, co-editor of First Nations Cultural Heritage and Law: Case Studies, Voices, and Perspectives

Carwyn Jones is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington and a New Zealand Maori of Ngati Kahungunu descent. His primary research interests relate to the Treaty of Waitangi and Indigenous legal traditions. He has worked at the Waitangi Tribunal, the Maori Land Court, and the Office of Treaty Settlements and is the co-editor of the Maori Law Review. He also maintains Ahi-ka-roa, a blog on legal issues affecting Maori and other Indigenous peoples. He is a member of the Maori Advisory Committee to the New Zealand Law Commission and in 2012 was a United Nations Indigenous Fellow. In 2014, he was awarded the Marsden Fast-Start Grant by the Royal Society of New Zealand for his scholarship on Maori legal traditions.

1 Tino Rangatiratanga and Māori Legal History

2 Reconciling Legal Systems

3 Māori Law Today

4 Treaty Settlements and Māori Law

5 Post-Settlement Governance and Māori Law

6 New Stories and Old Stories Re-Told

Epilogue: Māui and The People Of The North

Pinepine te Kura




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