Philosophical Foundations of Maori-Crown Relations in the Twenty First Century: Biculturalism or Self-Determination

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This paper demonstrates that the philosophical premises underlying biculturalism and self-determination lead to different conclusions about where power properly resides with respect to Crown/Maori relations in New Zealand. It is argued that biculturalism is not the panacea for the realisation of legitimate Maori aspirations that has been assumed by both Maori and Pakeha policy elites over the past twenty years because it makes assumptions about power relationships which limit greater degrees of Maori autonomy ' one step towards self-determination is permitted, but the next prevented. Biculturalism can not realise greater autonomy because it is concerned primarily with relationships among people in institutional settings and within and among bureaucratic institutions. Therefore it is less likely to meet Maori aspirations than self-determination which is concerned with creating, to the greatest extent possible, independence and autonomy for groups, not necessarily in isolation from wider society, but certainly apart from controls and regulations imposed from outside the would be self-determining community. Self-determination locates power, at least to some extent, within traditional Maori social units, while biculturalism, although assuming a sharing of power, inevitably gives Maori the status of junior partner in a project designed to modify state institutions to make them more responsive to Maori interests. While in itself this is advantageous to Maori, biculturalism is not a substitute for the affirmation of traditional social structures as the central point in a Maori quest for greater independence from an historically intrusive state.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralasian Political Studies Association Conference
EditorsRodney Smith
Place of PublicationAustralia
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2003
EventAustralasian Political Studies Association Conference - University of Tasmania, Australia
Duration: 29 Sep 200301 Oct 2003


ConferenceAustralasian Political Studies Association Conference


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