Tribute to Emeritus Professor Dame Judith Binney
The Waitangi Tribunal acknowledges Emeritus Professor Dame Judith Binney, New Zealand historian, 1940–2011
Dame Judith Binney was a pioneer historian in the fields of Maori history, Maori-Pakeha and Maori-Crown relations. Her work with iwi, her engagement with their oral histories and traditions, and her successful dialogue between western academic approaches and Maori knowledge bases, helped change the way New Zealanders think about their past. Her own understanding of our shared past has been a major influence on the work of the Waitangi Tribunal, extending far beyond the communities to whose history she devoted so much of her life.
In particular, Dame Judith will be remembered for her two groundbreaking studies: Redemption Songs, the study of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, his life, his messages and predictions, and his impact on New Zealand history; and Encircled Lands, her monumental study of Tuhoe history and of the long and painful struggle of the peoples of Te Urewera with colonisation. Encircled Lands, though the culmination of years of work, had its immediate origins in her overview report for the Tribunal's Te Urewera inquiry. The importance of both works to Waitangi Tribunal inquiries may be seen by their frequent citation in the Tribunal's reports on the Turanga (Gisborne), central North Island, and Te Urewera Treaty claims.
Dame Judith's passion and scholarship were both evident at marae hearings where she gave historical evidence to the Tribunal in the presence of the iwi. Dame Judith Binney will be sadly missed, but her legacy to New Zealand history, and to the work of the Tribunal, will be lasting.
Ua marangai te heke a roimata mōhou e te rau huia, e te piki kōtuku. Ko tō reo kua rārangahia ki te poutama, ki te kaokao o te whare kōrero o te Taraipiunara. Haere, takahia te ara a Tāne ki te huinga o te kahurangi, kia mihia koe e te hunga wheturangi; haere, whakaoti atu.
Ko ngā whetu ki te rangi, ko ngā takahanga waewae ki te whenua, tihei mauriora.
This storm of tears fall for you, dignified and prestigious leader. Your voice has been woven to the tukutuku panels of the Tribunal. Go forth and walk the path of Tane, so that you may be greeted by those who have passed on, go, farewell.
Those who have passed adorn the sky as those of us walk this earth, life.