Jacinda Ardern fumbles over what Treaty of Waitangi articles say - 'Article One? On the spot?'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was caught off guard when asked at Waitangi today what the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi actually say.

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The PM did answer with a little help from colleagues and says she expects the Treaty to be taught in schools. Source: 1 NEWS

Fronting media ahead of Waitangi Day on Wednesday which commemorates the signing of the Treaty in 1840, Ms Ardern was asked by 1 NEWS political reporter Maika Sherman what Article One of the Treaty says.

"Oh, Article One? On the spot?" Ms Ardern replied.

"Kawanatanga, sorry, excuse me," she added when prompted by Willie Jackson and other ministers standing behind her. 

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The Prime Minister was asked about the issue at Waitangi today. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern did not elaborate on what Article One says.

The First Article of the Treaty states: "The chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land."

Asked then about Article Two, she replied: "Oh look. Tino Rangatiratanga."

Again Ms Ardern did not expand of what Article Two contains, but did say: "I know the principles of the treaty of Waitangi, I know our obligations. Of course we are as a government trying to fulfill those, not just in legislation but in the policies and programmes that we roll out."

The Second Article of the Treaty states: "The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures. But on the other hand the chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs will sell land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent."

Ms Ardern may not have had the details of the Treaty at her fingertips today, but she said she learnt about it at school, and expects it to be taught.

She was asked did she think the Treaty of Waitangi should be a compulsory part of the New zealand school curriculum.

"Certainly, I learnt about the Treaty as part of my education, and many of our children and young people will and should as part of learning about Aotearoa's history," she said.

"It is part of our history and we should be learning about it."

At the moment the Treaty is an option in schools, not compulsory.

"Oh look,  I would certainly have an expectation and a hope that it is learnt across our schools as part of our curriculum. It is there available and it is part of our history. I think most New Zealanders would agree with that as well. 

"So this is our country, it is part of our history, it is our founding document as a nation, our students should be learning about it." Ms Ardern said.

Asked would she makes moves to ensure it is a compulsory part of the curriculum, Ms Ardern said: "My first question would be how many aren't? I would be surprised if it wasn't being taught universally. 

"So look, I am happy to ask the question because I would have thought that most schools, most parents, most members of the public would want children in Aotearoa learning about our own history."