1. The general idea was to find out what well-known New Zealanders with ‘ordinary’ lives were thinking about the Treaty and issues related to it. That meant people with day jobs most people can relate to, not lawyers or politicians or activists who earn a living by advocating a particular view on the Treaty or have devoted their lives to advocating a particular point of view.We made some exceptions where someone has been recognized widely for their work in a particular area related to the Treaty and/or cultural relations. Examples are:
    • Dame Joan Metge
    • Dame Tariana Turia
    • Ranginui Walker
    • Matthew Palmer
    • Sir Toby Curtis
  2. We ended up canvasing only the views of Maori and Pakeha. We had originally hoped to include Pasifika, Asian communities and others, but to do it on  a meaningful scale would have exceeded our resources and the time we had. We did approach a few Pasifika and Asian New Zealanders but in the end we couldn’t tee up the interviews in time.
  3. Not everyone we asked was willing to be interviewed. Pakeha in general, and Pakeha women in particular, seemed reluctant to talk on camera.

In 2014 the Morgan Foundation published a book about the Treaty of Waitangi. It was called “Are we there yet? the future of the Treaty of Waitangi”. We came to several important conclusions in Are we there yet?  and these dictated the questions we asked interviewees.

  1. We came to one very important, high-level, conclusion: the Treaty symbolises, and offers a moral benchmark for, the ongoing relationship between Maori and non-Maori.
  2. We also came to more concrete conclusions too: in a nutshell: we concluded that the Treaty is bringing about constitutional evolution in New Zealand; only the public as a whole – Maori and non-Maori working together – can choose the direction of that evolution; New Zealand will only have enduring and positive constitutional developments if Maori and non-Maori understand each other well; a good understanding requires Maori and non-Maori to talk more about what’s important to them and what they aspire to.
  3. In order to encourage constructive constitutional debates, we asked questions that we thought would help Maori and Pakeha understand each other more and we asked about the Treaty. We asked our interviewees what was important to them, we asked about their experiences of cultural difference, we asked what they liked about New Zealand and what they would change. We also asked about the Treaty itself – what it represents, whether it is relevant, what they think it should apply to.
  4. We wanted to encourage Maori and non-Maori to talk together more for another reason too. When people from diverse backgrounds talk together they build trust and respect  or ‘social connectedness’. This connectedness or “social capital” impacts significantly on a society’s economic and social performance (revealing itself in economic growth rates and social indicators like the crime rate, youth suicide and family violence). Moreover, the benefits of living in a well-connected society are enjoyed by everyone, not just those who are personally closely connected to friends, family and their community. We found little in the way of in-depth New Zealand research to inform us about trends in social connectedness in New Zealand. New Zealand is at the top of the world’s rankings when it comes to social capital but no-one in New Zealand seems to be interested in what is happening to this valuable resource. It seemed to us that New Zealand could lose this essential resource quietly, slowly, without anyone really noticing. So we asked questions that gave us insight into connectedness in New Zealand – to see how connected we are today, to learn about how we build connectedness, to learn what poor social connection looks like.
  1. This was especially important because constitutional arrangements impact on social capital. New Zealand is on the path of constitutional reform and this could lead to changes in social connectedness – we wanted some benchmark which we could refer back to in the future, to see the impact of New Zealand’s constitutional reforms on social capital.