Four Weeks Done Already!

February 27, 2009 | Rachel, Intern, Government Department processing Maori Land Applications

I am now four weeks into my placement with the Waitangi Tribunal, and things have been running very smoothly. My supervisor is a Senior Research Analyst, so most of the work I’ve done so far has been reading about different claim submissions, putting together packages of images or research volumes through scanning and photocopying, and assisting the other researchers by compiling Record of Inquiries with indexes for easy research. The first few weeks I spent a lot of time reading about the Tribunal as well as about the Treaty of Waitangi in order to familiarize myself with the approach.

I am very excited to be travelling to Ohakune (about a 4 hour drive north of Wellington) to listen in on two days of Hearings. Hearings are the third phase in the Tribunal’s approach to claims submitted and include cross-examinations of the claimants’ technical witnesses and of the claimants’ non-technical witnesses. There is also plenty of evidence presentation and background information given by the various parties (claimants, Crown, and Tribunal). I think the most fascinating part will be the first afternoon where we get to partake in a powhiri (welcoming ceremony from the Mäori to the visitors) at the Maungarongo Marae. The ceremony is very sacred and will include strong symbolic connections between the visitors, the hosts, and our ancestors. There will be songs and dances performed, as well as kai (food) for a feast at the end.

Outside of work I am beginning to familiarize myself much more with the city, and I’m looking forward to continuing my day-trips on the weekend to various parks and historical sites. I will update soon as to how the powhiri turns out and my thoughts on the proceedings.


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