For Māori, the philosophical consequences of colonization are a hugely important issue, due to both the subtlety and the omnipresence of Western metaphysics. In this article I refer to the “metaphysics of presence” through one major Western thinker—Martin Heidegger—who identified “presence” as a problem for the West. He proposes that the metaphysics of presence underpins every perception in the West and that it is the fundamental mistake of philosophers since Plato but becoming ascendant with Aristotle.
The Waikato River is an important New Zealand waterway with a long history of people making claims to it, including Treaty of Waitangi claims by Māori for guardianship and ownership rights. The claims process has most recently culminated in Waikato-Tainui and the Crown signing a 2009 Deed of Settlement for the river. The 2009 deed establishes a new co-governance structure for the river, with equal Māori and Crown representation.