Ō Tātou Moemoeā - COVID-19 Public Health Act 2020: What happened to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in all that?

28 October 2020

This event has passed. Please visit our events page to see our upcoming events.

The next session of ‘Ō Tātou Moemoeā: Our Dreams – a social work professional development series’ is Wednesday, 28th October, from 10am - 12pm. This event was postponed from 12 August due to Covid-19 restrictions

These interactive workshops are designed for busy professionals who need to keep up-to-date with new developments and best practice & can be used for your Social Workers Registration board (SWRB) professional development portfolio to maintain your registration.

The series will address SWRB core competencies and code of conduct as well as technical and practice issues. Current research informs the sessions and participants can expect to learn practical skills which will enhance their practice.

For further information, please see the below.

Ngā mihi nui,
The Bachelor of Applied Social Work Team


$200 - FREE to NorthTec fieldwork agency staff, supervisors, BASW students and LAC members.

Dr David Williams

David WilliamsThe COVID-19 Public Health Act 2020 was rammed through Parliament in less than two days. It permits police and enforcement officers to enter marae without needing a warrant and yet the Government made no attempt to consult with Māori during the drafting of the Bill. Since March, the Government was aware of doubts about the lawfulness of powers under the Health Act 1956 and the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002 to deal with the COVID-19 emergency.

Cabinet policy as set out in an October 2019 Circular requires policy-makers to consider the Treaty of Waitangi in policy development and implementation. What happened to that requirement when the COVID-19 Public Health Bill was prepared? There was plenty of time to consult and to accommodate concerns that Māori might have expressed about warrantless powers to enter marae and arrest people there.

Parliament acted in 2020 like the colonial governments that justified warrantless entry onto marae in the style of the Parihaka invasion in 1882 and the arrest of Te Rua Kēnana at Maungapōhatu in 1916. This was particularly galling because there had been such successful examples of Treaty-based cooperation between iwi/hapū groups and Police at community checkpoints during the lockdown period. The manner of the enactment of the COVID-19 Public Health Act 2020 suggests (yet again) the importance of paying attention to the options for Tiriti-based constitutional reform explored in the Report of Matike Mai Aotearoa (2016).

Dr David V Williams FRSNZ is a Professor Emeritus and Honorary Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at The University of Auckland. See David's biography here

For many years he was an activist in the Citizens Association for Racial Equality (CARE). He has worked with many iwi, but especially with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei from the days of the Bastion Point/Takaparawhau occupation in the 1970s through to the enactment of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Treaty Settlement Act 2012. He continues to be engaged by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and other iwi as an expert witness.”

Latest Publication: Review, Blackstone and His Critics (Page & Prest eds), The Journal of Legal History, See more here

Past Events

Wednesday, March 11 - Dr Paulé​ Rūwhiu PhD "Decolonising social work education"

Wednesday, 8 April - The Future Workforce: Legislation, Registration, and the Profession

Wednesday, 20 May - What’s Climate Change got to do with us?

Wednesday, 24 June - The War on the Poor

Future Events

We are continuing to confirm presenters for the remainder of the year and next year, and welcome your suggestions.

Further Information

For further information, please get in touch with:

Emily Jones
Social Work & Environmental Management

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