Sealed on the banks of the River Thames on 15 June 1215, the Magna Carta forms the foundation of rights we enjoy today. Originally a treaty between King John of England and rebel Barons, it’s a document which over many centuries has shaped the exercise of power, the rights of the people, and the role of the law.
CENTRAL TO NEW ZEALAND’S DEMOCRATIC FOUNDATIONS
From its beginning, New Zealand’s Parliament has adopted the Magna Carta’s ideals of individual liberty and freedom, and the constraint of power, including:
“No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right.” Learn more …
Seven years of fighting between King Charles I supporters and Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians claimed the lives of thousands.
On January 30, 1649, in London after being lawfully convicted by Parliament High Court for Justice for treason, tyranny and conducting a war against the laws and people of England. King Charles I was convicted of treason and executed outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall. Learn more
“So were the Crimes of the late King; and certainly, the children of Israel had no known Law or Precedent to punish the Benjamites for their odious abuse of the Levite’s Wife; yet God owned the Action.” (“1649: A Declaration of Parliament,”2016)
On March 17, 1649, the English Crown, including the Monarchy and the House of Lords, was legally abolished and constitutionally prohibited in England. It was declared a treasonable act to attempt to re-establish monarchy and to proclaim anyone King or Queen.
“The Representatives of the People now Assembled in Parliament, have judged it necessary to change the Government of this Nation from the former Monarchy, (unto which by many injurious incroachments it had arrived) into a Republique, and not to have any more a King to tyrannize over them.” (“1649: A Declaration of Parliament,”2016)
Eleven years later, this defunct royal power was reimposed on England and its colonies, fraudulently and illegally, by military coup led by Charles Stuart, the son of the deposed King.
The new regime that restored the British monarchy was an illegal and de facto power, unlawfully created as an act of war against the laws of Parliament and the will of the people.
As a result, every British monarch since 1660 has ruled illegally and unconstitutionally.
Annet, K. (2019). Establishing Liberty: The Case For Kanata.
It was signed on September 17, 1787, by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Under America’s first governing document, the Articles of Confederation, the national government was weak and states operated like independent countries.
At the 1787 convention, delegates devised a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches—executive, legislative and judicial—along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
On 28 October 1835, at the home of British Resident James Busby in Waitangi, 34 northern chiefs signed He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (known in English as the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand).
The handwritten document consisting of four articles asserted that mana (authority) and sovereign power in New Zealand resided fully with Māori, and that foreigners would not be allowed to make laws. Te Whakaminenga, the Confederation of United Tribes, was to meet at Waitangi each autumn to frame laws, and in return for their protection of British subjects in their territory, they sought King William’s protection against threats to their mana. They also thanked the King for acknowledging their flag.
At the time the Treaty was being negotiated the Northern tribes wanted to cede kawanatanga or governance to the English Crown. They never intended to cede tino rangatiratanga or sovereignty. The use of the different phrases was deliberate. And the Te Reo meaning of the treaty was clear yet the Crown used the ambiguity in the English version to suggest that Maori had willingly given away the sovereignty of Aotearoa. Learn more …
The Treaty of Waitangi signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and North Island Maori chiefs. The treaty was written at a time when some Māori leaders had petitioned the British for protection against French incursions.
The treaty transferred sovereignty from the Māori to the British Crown, while under its so-called pre-emption clause, Māori were prohibited from selling land to anyone but the Government and its agents.
It recognised Māori ownership of their lands, forests and other possessions, and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. Learn more …
A series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand from 1845 to 1872 between the Colonial government and allied on one side and Māori and Māori-allied settlers on the other. Initially localised conflicts triggered by tensions over disputed land purchases, they escalated dramatically from 1860 as the government became convinced it was facing united Māori resistance to further land sales and a refusal to acknowledge Crown sovereignty
The 1840 English language version of the Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed that individual Māori iwi (tribes) should have undisturbed possession of their lands, forests, fisheries and other taonga (treasures) in return for becoming British subjects, selling land to the government only (the right of pre-emption) and surrendering sovereignty to the British Crown.
In the Māori language version of the Treaty, however, the word “sovereignty” was translated as kawanatanga which was a new word meaning “governance.” This led to considerable disagreement over the meaning of the Treaty. Learn more …
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first international document to address in detail the notion that there exists a set of universal rights and fundamental freedoms that governments are obligated to secure for their citizens.
Rights inherent to all of humanity, regardless of race, sex or religion.
“We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind,” said Eleanor Roosevelt as the declaration was presented to the U.N. General Assembly for a vote. “This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere.”
The General Assembly voted to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. Learn more …