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Naomi Gough, MPH, 2012


Presently the Crown in Aotearoa/New Zealand negotiates its relations with Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi. This has led to the incorporation of the Treaty into a wide range of legislation relevant to public health, including health services provision, the environment and social policy. Nevertheless, some experts question whether the implementation of Tino Rangatiratanga is consistent with its true meaning. Advocates in Māori health may be able to find new opportunities to support developments in Tino Rangatiratanga from the recent adoption of the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples because it specifies that Indigenous Peoples have the Right to Self-Determination. This is sometimes regarded as similar to Tino Rangatiratanga, and therefore may provide new insights into how the Crown must act to uphold the promise of Tino Rangatiratanga. This dissertation explores the meaning and implications of the Indigenous Right to Self-Determination from the perspective of Tino Rangatiratanga and public health by undertaking an extensive and comprehensive literature review and analysis. It discusses the history, philosophy, education, legislation and political theory of self-determination and includes the international case study of Sami self-determination. Findings are reflected on in the context of Māori health and Tino Rangatiratanga. It was concluded that self-determination is different from Tino Rangatiratanga, but that the difference can be useful for advocacy because it highlights how current state structures are insufficient for the Crown to meet its Treaty obligations. This dissertation has several recommendations, including the recommendation that leaders in public health advocate for constitutional change in Aotearoa/New Zealand as a means of achieving Māori health equity.

Supervisors: Lee Thompson, Tania Huria

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