|Conventional short name:|
|Currency:||1 pauna = 20 herengi = 240 kapa|
|Organizations:||Commonwealth of Nations|
Head of State
Officialy, the Head of State is considered to be currently Queen Diana of England (known localy as te kuini te Aotearoa). Actual power however is vested in Te Arikinui ("The Great Chief") who upon ascension to his or her rank swear loyalty to the Queen (or King) of England.
The role of Te Arikinui has been described by some as akin to that of a Governor General in other English realms. The main difference however is that while Te Arikinui must act in a manner that is consdered "loyal" to the english monarch, he or she is not it's representative nor the executor of it's wishes. Similarly, the English monarch is not the "ruler" but the "protector" of Aotearoa and while it could influence decisions in England itself, it can only make "recomandations" .
Te Arikinui is an elective post chosen by the chiefs (rangatira) of the various iwi from amongst themselves. The role is for life and is in theory open to all. As the Head of the various Iwi themselves tend to come from specific families, the pool of candidate is more limited.
In pre-colonial time, the islands that now make up the Principality of Aotearoa were inhabited by a group of polynesian now refer to as "Maori". They were grouped in Iwi (extended family and allies) who often warred with one another.
The founding of the modern State of Aotearoa is usualy considered to be the signing of the treaty of Wayne-Haki (named after the chief negociators from both side). It was to spell out in much details the exact relationship between Aotearoa and England. Over the years however, a few addendum had to be written to specify certain points. The original treaty had been written in English and Moari (both being considered equal) but since each language contained concept alien to the other, loanwords were invented sometime with unintended results.
In 1951, Aotearoa joined Australasia as a freely associated state.
In addition to the mainland territory (defined as as the islands of Te-Ika-a-Maui, Te Wai Pounamu and their satelites), the Realm is considered to include the islands of Kuke, Niue, and Samoa as well as the Aotearoan Antarctic Dependency. Interestingly, while the outer islands are dependencies of Aotearoa, their link is considered to be only between Te Arikinui and their chiefs and so are not (from a legal standpoint) considered to be part of the Commonwealth nor their citizens to be english (or even aotearoan) subjects.
The treaty of Wayne-Haki granted the english certain territorial concession from the Maori within which english law would applied. In theory, land could only be granted to the English government or its agents. However, the two version of the treaty lead to varying interpretations. While the English one stated "Concessions can only be made to The Crown", the Maori one stated (literally) "Guardianship can only be given to a crown". The first result was that some of the chieftains felt it to be within their rights to grant guardianship (leasing) of land to *any* nation as long as it was made through its monarch (interpreted as government).
The English colonial authority first learned of this when a Scottish company approached their government to approve a lease they had signed with a local chief. The Scottish, unsure of the situation, passed on the information to the English who sent representatives right away to try and impose their vision of the treaty. It quickly came to light that in addition to the Scottish concession, a French one was also on its way to being set up by Baron Charles de Thierry. Unable to make the 2 chiefs responsible for the situation go back on their agreement, they nonetheless manage to convince Te Arikinui and the assembled chiefs not to sign any future land concessions to a country beside England.
The second result of the conflicting intepretation was in regard to the status of the concessions themselves. The Maori posited that the term used implied a temporary situation whereas the english side saw it as a permanent transfer of ownership. After much discussion, a deal was reached whereby, legaly speaking, all concession were to be considered leased (and not owned) by the european powers for a renewable period of 99 years.
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