New Zealand’s Monetary Past, Pūtea and Future – Bitcoin Magazine

Currently, there is global attention focused around the evolution of money. The trend of exponentially evolving technology is disrupting finance and governance, it is impacting all corners of the world.

In my home country of Aotearoa, aka New Zealand, the movement toward future money is palpable, from statements by the central bank (RBNZ) about re-evaluating money itself, to a movement toward Māori (indigenous) economic self-governance (tino rangatiratanga).

This article is about the future of money from a sovereign perspective. My aim is to show that New Zealand is not built on free market principles and in order for us to live up to the partnership envisaged from our founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori must be allowed to decide for themselves what currency and governance best satisfies their needs.

The Past

“Denial of Sovereign Rights”: The second Māori King, pictured with his wife, Hera. Source

Independent authority (mana motuhake) and irredentism has always been at the forefront of Māori grassroots activism. For example, the infamous Hone Heke chopping down the British Flag staff, or King Tawhiao, the second Māori King (pictured above), leading a party to England to petition Queen Victoria in 1884 to create a Māori parliament and an independent commission of inquiry into land confiscations.

In 2014, the Crown acknowledged in court that Māori never ceded sovereignty, therefore, in order to be sovereign, we need a decentralized economic system and currency where no one can dominate it, otherwise we are subject to the Crown’s political and economic whims and short-sightedness.

The Māori relationship to NZ’s banking system has likewise been historically contentious and the following historical timeline exemplifies that. It is mainly compiled from the RBNZ.

Between 1830 and the 1840s: There was no “legal” currency in NZ, it was a free market for money where citizens had the optionality for storing, exchanging and measuring value….

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