Discussions at Waitangi brought home to me that I did not fully appreciate the fact that the Treaty is a covenant. Frequent comparisons between the Treaty and marriage also brought the realisation that most younger people particularly no longer see marriage as a covenant, and also tend to see the Treaty too lightly.

When I was married, I was young and still knew everything. At the time I did not appreciate just how significant our vows were, but while I'm still getting my head around "covenant", the traditional vows were a covenant. With the benefit of more years behind me, I now see just how short we fall in understanding just what is involved in both the Treaty and marriage.

So much focus these days is on "the wedding". Worse, watching marriage failure (not just legal marriage and divorce but also de facto marriage) has reduced expectations to a partnership. Yet a 50/50 partnership is so limited. A marriage only blossoms to its full potential when both partners are committed to each other 100% - not 50%.

I had a major stroke from which I was never expected to return to work. After 2.5 years I had a sudden and dramatic improvement. I liken it to King Nebuchadnezzar's mind returning (but his took 7 years). I still have significant issues, but it's so good to have my mind back (except for the not so good bits). But what has it been like for my wife? We're still learning, and I am so grateful - but a 50:50 deal would not have let us stay as one. (I still don't understand the "two become one" yet still remain two - but my favourite word these days is paradox.)

Seeing the Treaty as a covenant changes my thinking. For example, I see the way the New Conservative party regards the Treaty as a partnership as flawed. I have no idea how we can work out marriage issues, let alone Treaty issues. But downgrading it to a partnership with partial financial reparation is so far short of what it deserves.

A search on this took me to an article by a guy I've come to appreciate. It's well worth a read - he writes far more clearly than I can.