As stated in Myth 9, before 1840 land ownership/occupancy was determined by might and not by right. At any time a stronger tribe could evict a weaker one from their long occupied lands merely by having more warriors and / or better weapons.

Perpetual freehold title, guaranteed by the State (Crown title), was one of the many blessings that came to New Zealand with the introduction of British law. Secure ownership of land is a bedrock of a civilised and functioning society.

When the Treaty industry started it was made plain to the claimants that only public land could be transferred to them but not private land – for obvious reasons as otherwise nobody’s property would be safe. “The Government will not tolerate sporadic claims on private land,” declared the then Labour P.M., David Lange, on TV on 21 October, 1988.

However, in 2019 the Labour Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, failed to uphold the rights of private property when a mob of placard-wielding radicals from assorted tribes demanded that they be given ownership of a large and valuable property that belonged to Fletcher Building and on which the company was about to build apartments. The squatters falsely claimed that the land had been confiscated under the N.Z. Settlements Act 1863 whereas it had been willingly sold several years before that by its Maori owners.

Even if it had been confiscated under the 1863 Act that would have been legal under the statute (see Myth No. 12). To say that the Crown took the land illegally is a lie. However, instead of upholding property rights, Ardern persuaded Fletchers to stop work on their own land “pending a satisfactory settlement,” (whatever that might mean) thus encouraging greedy radicals to make further claims on any property that might attract their fancy. This would take us back to the pre-1840 “might is right” Maori attitude to property occupancy.