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A Simple Nullity?
A Simple Nullity?

A Simple Nullity?

The Wi Parata Case in New Zealand Law & History


296 Pages, 6.25 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Trade Paper, $35.00 (US $35.00) (CA $38.95)

Publication Date: August 2011

ISBN 9781869404840

Rights: US, CA, UK, EUR, ASIA & ZA

Auckland University Press (Aug 2011)


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When the New Zealand Supreme Court ruled on Wi Parata v the Bishop of Wellington in 1877, the judges infamously dismissed the relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi. During the past 25 years, judges, lawyers, and commentators have castigated this “simple nullity” view of the treaty. The infamous case has been seen as symbolic of the neglect of Maori rights by settlers, the government, and New Zealand law. In this book, the Wi Parata case—the protagonists, the origins of the dispute, the years of legal back and forth—is given a fresh look, affording new insights into both Maori-Pakeha relations in the 19th century and the legal position of the treaty. As relevant today as they were at the time of the case ruling, arguments about the place of Indigenous Maori and Pakeha settlers in New Zealand are brought to light.


"[N]ecessary reading for all interested in the Treaty of Waitangi or indigenous issues to do with the settlement of indigenous claims. The editors and contributors are to be commended for producing such a timely and outstanding piece of scholarship." —Manuhuia Barcham, Australian Journal of International Affairs, on Waitangi Revisited

"[A] well researched and skillfully crafted dissertation." —Hirini Melbourne, Waikato Times, on Te Kooti Tango Whenua

Author Biography

David V. Williams is a professor of law at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a former Rhodes Scholar, priest, Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, and legal history researcher. He is the author of numerous journal articles, technical reports, and books, including Te Kooti Tango Whenua: The Native Land Court 1864-1909 and Waitangi Revisited: Perspectives on the Treaty of Waitangi.