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NZ’s right to bear arms? Firearms as a Treaty taonga.

  • April 4th, 2019

When the Treaty was signed, pu and tupara (muskets and double barreled shotguns) were among the most valuable of all taonga under Article 2 (if it really does go beyond the real property interests listed as the New Zealand courts say). Article 2 assured the chiefs and all the ordinary people of New Zealand that they would have undisturbed exclusive use and possession of their taonga.

So if relations between Police and (rural) Maori break down, it is inevitable that some Maori will assert a Treaty right to be free from confiscation and possibly even licensing for firearms. Urban judges from leafy suburbs will look for some sophistry to reject that claim both in law, and morally. But they should not underestimate the power of a strong view that authority is wrong allied to a wide belief in historical right. We have seen that repeatedly. Myth becomes political reality when enough people believe the myth.

The Arms Act 1860 exempted Maori. I have not researched the history, but I suspect that reflected both practical common sense on enforcement, and recognition of a Treaty assurance of Maori rights to retain pu and tupara. Under the so-called right of development in Treaty jurisprudence, that would now extend to whatever is the modern equivalents (in relative effectiveness to other weapons?)

I raised this possibility in my last minute submission to the Select Committee. I imagine there will have been many, judging from the latency on the Parliamentary website template for submissions.

Irrespective of the strength of the possible treaty argument, a heavy handed law change that rural people see as unreasonable could have a high price.

I have been a hunter for 50 years. I have a large rural property. I know hundreds of fire-arms users. I was unconcerned by a move against genuine MSSAs and large capacity magazines. But the Bill goes much further.

Parliament will be largely unaware of the level of informal borrowing and use of firearms in rural communities, particularly among Maori, that occurs with indifference to current law let alone what is in the Bill.

I can attest from personal knowledge to the degree of non-compliance with law on registration of vehicles, and driver licencing. There is similar non-compliance with gun owner licence requirements.

I believe that the Police wisely avoid interfering where they feel there is likely to be no harm done. And with positive relationships, unless forced to act, they get cooperation and information from families that would be at risk if there was vigorous inspection or enforcement.

But Police will have little alternative but to enforce the new law, though thousands of gun owners could decide to ignore it, or worse, to hide their guns, or to offer them to relatives or others who will be willing to ignore the law change. Those firearms will become invisible, whereas at present, the Police can expect reasonable frankness about them.

A general problem when censorious children are elected to govern

I see this issue as yet another where the urban ‘woke’ have utterly tin ears.

New Zealand has avoided many irreconcilable political fights over competing values. Now an ignorant generation are looking for ways to anger their opponents by deliberately kicking  sleeping dogs. Wise politicians pick no unnecessary fights that focus people on differences instead of on values they share.

Gun law has not been a tribal political issue here. My Select Committee 17 years ago reached a cross party consensus. But it is a badging issue in the US. So our “progressives” start the same chants to ape their US betters. They want to stick it to gun owners to show who is in charge – to anger “deplorables”. Whether the changes have any connection to a problem or a solution is immaterial to them. It is not so much ‘virtue signalling’ as IFF – identifying friend from foe.

From the same impulse they are trashing our 50 year old tacit deal  on abortion (‘we’ll pretend we have a law against abortion and leave the issue alone, if you too pretend the same”).

They look for any issue they can to stick the coercive state’s fat finger up the nose  of Christians – while excusing the ghastliness of Islamism, again to ape their US models.

They ended charter schools out of similar vindictiveness, thereby ensuring that whatever Hipkins does now in education will be reversed when he loses power.

And on free speech and so called non-binary gender and many other ‘me too’ (in its original sense) progressive causes their language, their solutions and their reasons are entirely derivative.

A consolation is that they are cementing their distance from the ordinary working people they have long scorned but claimed as the objects of their sanctimonious “altruism”.


  • doug
  • April 4th, 2019
  • 9:29 pm

It is reported by Police in their Departmental Disclosure Statement – date 1 April 2019 – that: “Police [consider that the Bill] does not affect Maori rights and interests protected by the Treaty of Waitangi” – yet the very Bill does impact the “ Rights and Privileges of British Subjects” imparted by the Third Article of the Treaty in a major way including Government confiscation of Private Property before any compensatory regimen has been established – for at present such a scheme is only Government promises with no substance. Shall history be repeated – AGAIN?

The second Article of the Treaty “Confirms and guarantees … the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of … other properties … which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same”. The third article of the Treaty clearly shows that in return for the transfer of their sovereignty, ALL the people of New Zealand shall be protected by the Queen (“Crown”) and that the rights and privileges of British Subjects be imparted to them.

It is notable that ALL British Subjects prior to 1840 already possessed these rights, privileges and obligations. They had them by birthright, passed on to them by their forebears who had enshrined these in Magna Cart and the 1688 Bill of Rights. All this laid out in the ‘Claims of the English People’ – a collection of State documents published during the reign of King William III (London 1701)

“May not the people be trusted to guard the King (“Crown”), their landlords and themselves? Can any accidental change of artillery (i.e. the change from Long Bows to the MSSA and/or ‘Assault Rifle’) be pleaded in bar to necessary defence of the Nation? Madmen indeed ought not to be trusted with weapons. But the care we took in preserving our rights (and privileges – if you must) against the encroachments of the late King shall ensure the old right of handling arms be entrusted to us.”

The talk – and proposed legislation – of banning, confiscating or compulsory purchase of any arms … let alone military style firearms … is as much a violation of the Treaty of Waitangi as the similar estrangement of Maori land that occurred in earlier times. The lack of principle is identical, despite the best intentions of our representatives in Parliament. It is not only wrong but evil, as future generations will become less free, far less secure and safe if such policies are implemented in this precipitate manner.

[…] […]

  • MarcW
  • April 6th, 2019
  • 11:23 am

If (as it appears) the Bill is passed in haste the sad irony is that this COLL will be the direct cause for the rapid logarithmic increase in firearms related offences the country will ever experience. Police will also be victims here.

At the moment, Police have some confidence when responding to incidents that firearms are or are not present by virtue of the Firearms licence system. From now on, when the new stupid laws are in force, they will have no such assurance, so ALL callouts will involve armed response.

The number of hidden and illegally owned firearms will be, as a direct result of this legislation, incalculable – except we know it will be more, many many more.

Stupid, stupid virtue signalling and irresponsible haste will cause this – it can only be the result of a “Captain’s” call to proceed with such ignorance.

I hope the Police “service” are prepared for the consequences.

  • mike mckee
  • April 6th, 2019
  • 12:20 pm

I do not think the NZ Police think at all.
They have JSW as leaders not people who think rationally or with common sense sadly.
If so they would have quickly said wait wait wait!

Jacinda Adhern lacks gravitas or nous and as such needs to affirm she is sensible and pragmatic, forgetting real adult relationships which is essentially what Stephen wrote about are what should guide policy making.
Feel good on the hoof captains call is not professional nor right and proper.

Where are NationaL?
They should be stating this to all and sundry, not relying on Stephen Franks to do the lifting for us.
After all they do occupy The Highest Court in the Land, even if it is with children.

  • enrico hoover
  • April 8th, 2019
  • 8:50 pm

I sent the following to Ms Ardern and others this morning.
To the politicians and media of New Zealand.

In a country where we have one of the highest rates of youth suicide and kids are hooked on games that allow them to kill indiscriminately, giving them points for casual rape and atrocities like killing babies with flame throwers;
I take young people out and give them hands on coaching and life experiences at being responsible, enjoying the outdoors, learning discipline and the joy of competition, and because I use firearms to help achieve that, you’ve helped take that away, you’re doing your very best to alienate me and 250,000 other shooters.

The people I teach, coach, encourage to be part of the real world, with real skills and attitudes, respect for life and liberty, freedom to be excellent at things they love, are going to grow up to be decent people.

But you’ve done your bit to make sure that doesn’t happen.

In a world where we are supposed to be one, where we are supposed to support and have a love for everyone in our society, tolerate every religion, accept every culture, you have chosen to make the 1/4 of a million kiwis who own and use firearms responsibly feel guilty and alienated.
They did not cause this atrocity.

This terror attack happened because we don’t have a society where people care about each other.
We have people sleeping on the street and in cars or under bridges.
We have a society where a hardworking couple earn so little that they cannot afford the occasional ice cream for their kids. Or basics like insurance, healthcare, etc., etc.
We have a society where lax police procedures are swept under the carpet and police standing on street corners with guns and faces masked look more like terrorists than the terrorists themselves.
We live in a society where the terrorist used guns, a car, the internet to commit his crimes. He also used homemade bombs. But you’ve chosen to ignore all of that in refusing to face the fact that he just plain hated people. So ban the cars? Ban the internet? No, just ban guns and tell yourself that this will stop an atrocity like this ever happening again.

Cowards. Yes, I think you are all cowards. Not real New Zealanders. You’re artificial. Products of your own media hype. You give lip service to the notion of being one, but you certainly don’t follow that with any sort of action. You don’t truly believe it.

What does it really mean to BE ONE. Think about it. If you genuinely want the country to be one, then you will support not only muslims and catholics, but also the shooters who are as appalled as you at the Christchurch events.

I think the real problem is you, the politicians and the media. Actually you’re not too much better than the terrorist you’ve chosen to support by your actions, or lack of. YES, your actions directly help the terrorist achieve his aims. You make sure you earn top dollar, get a pay rise every year, become a “celebrity”.
A classic example of “I’m OK Jack, screw you”.

Congratulations politicians and media, you are helping Divide the country. Making honest law abiding people into a minority group who will eventually start to hate in an entirely different way. How would you feel if your fishing boat was confiscated because some arsehole used a boat in a terror attack. Or a golf club? Make a big enough bomb, put it in a truck, or just drive the truck along a crowded street. Perhaps fly an airplane into a tall building? What makes you think taking guns away will stop the people who hate so badly that they have to do the unthinkable?

Why not make this world a place where we truly are one? Where everyone who wants one can have a job, which will allow them a roof over their head and three square meals a day. Where their children can grow up to be anything they want. Where people are passionate about their own interests, and have the opportunity and ability to pursue their own dreams. Even if their dreams are different from yours. We’re all one, aren’t we?

Or did you forget that bit because the other person likes guns and you don’t?

From Dissention, Envy Hate, and Corruption guard our State,

enrico hoover

  • Doug
  • April 8th, 2019
  • 10:33 pm

A little bit more petrol on the fires of freedom?

From the ‘Black Dwarf’ by Thomas Wooler – the first issue of his periodical in January 1817

‘States must either proceed, or retrograde … The people ought to have remembered that they were the guardians of the constitution. Instead of that the simpletons expected protection from the constitution; which is in fact nothing more than the recorded merits of our ancestors. The country has boasted of being free because of Magna Carta was enacted: when the least penetration would have taught us that Magna Carta was only enacted because our ancestors were determined to be free. Their freedom was in their power and their will.’

Another lesson to relearn?

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  • Chuck Bird
  • April 11th, 2019
  • 1:28 pm

“I have been a hunter for 50 years. I have a large rural property. I know hundreds of fire-arms users. I was unconcerned by a move against genuine MSSAs and large capacity magazines. But the Bill goes much further.”

That is the problem. Hunters and farmers did not care about competition shooters. This like those who do not care about someone charged with hate speech who says homosexuals will burn in hell if they do not repent as they have homosexual friends.

The reminds me of first the came for … and I did not care etc.

  • Brendan McNeill
  • April 22nd, 2019
  • 2:19 pm

“New Zealand has avoided many irreconcilable political fights over competing values. Now an ignorant generation are looking for ways to anger their opponents by deliberately kicking sleeping dogs. Wise politicians pick no unnecessary fights that focus people on differences instead of on values they share.”

Indeed. Social cohesion is a product of shared values, and is destroyed by the animosity inherent in identity politics, and the ‘oppressed’ / ‘oppressor’ narrative of cultural Marxism.

The real question is this: Following the deconstruction and privatisation of Christianity in our culture, what are our shared values? What uniting meta-narrative are we going to replace it with? What story or ‘big idea’ is going to unite us as a people and a nation? If the 20th century is any guide, attempts by politicians to provide that meta-narrative does not end well.

[…] This fella explains it better than I can, but I was aware of this before from some historical edumacations… » Blog Archive » NZ’s right to bear arms? Firearms as a Treaty taonga. […]

  • Roger Dewhurst
  • June 21st, 2019
  • 6:46 pm

Just about all that needs to be said has been said here. I doubt that I can improve on anything. What has been said merely reinforced my view that our elected politicians are, in the main, gutless and mindless.

  • Brian Haldane
  • June 22nd, 2019
  • 10:59 pm

I would like to support you in taking this issue to court.
It is very important that the treaty is adhered to and ourrights as gun owners are not undermined so as not to make gun owners out to be criminals.
This ruling from the coalition has been a rash and immature ruling.


[…] Wise politicians pick no unnecessary fights that focus people on differences instead of on values they share. – StephenFranks […]


There is no right to own or possess firearms under New Zealand law, including for the purposes of self-defense. The current legal regime for firearms can be characterized as a “licensing but no registration” system since the majority of firearms in the country do not need to be registered.

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