One man’s contribution and commitment to the rights of Maori in New Zealand is the focus of a special documentary, JUSTICE DURIE, screening as part of Maori Television’s Waitangi Day line-up on Wednesday February 6.
Justice Edward Taihakurei Durie (Rangitane, Ngati Kauwhata, Ngati Raukawa) has played a significant role in resurrecting the Treaty of Waitangi – alongside the Maori land rights movement. His work has made a permanent change to the law and policies of Maori land and resource rights in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
From 1974 to 2000, Justice Durie was judge and then chief judge of the Maori Land Court. Examining a quagmire of Maori land legislation that separated Maori from their land, he began to resurrect the very treaty that had rotted in a museum basement for more than 100 years.
From his work, a Treaty jurisprudence – or body of law – developed that had never previously existed. Because of this, all New Zealanders can now enjoy Maori language, Maori television, Maori radio, Maori fashion and design, Maori entrepreneurship, and Maori talent and flair, says JUSTICE DURIE director, researcher and reporter, Moana Sinclair.
The hour-long documentary – produced by Wellington-based Production Shed TV Limited – will be appreciated by both Maoridom and all New Zealanders, says Sinclair. It will form a legal, political and historical resource for the country and inspire indigenous peoples around the world.
In the 2008 New Year’s Honours list, Justice Durie was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
“We look at the influential factors in Justice Durie’s life as well as the surrounding historical and political factors that lead to the articulation of a truth in Aotearoa-New Zealand’s history. He has made the treaty as relevant today as it was when it was first signed in 1840,” says Sinclair.
“Justice Durie has not only interpreted the treaty to acknowledge Maori rights which has meant, in some cases, the return of their ancestral lands and resources but he has also found a place for non-Maori.”
One man’s personal journey working with the treaty, JUSTICE DURIE screens as part of Maori Television’s Waitangi Day schedule on Wednesday February 6 at 2.00 PM.