WAI 1909 – The Waitangi Tribunal Gambling Claim

How will it Improve the Health Outcomes for young Māori People?


  • Ruth Ann Herd Independent scholar




In 2008, I lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal in regard to problem gambling and its negative impacts on Māori people. The Tribunal is tasked with hearing grievances related to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) signed in 1840 between Māori and the British Crown.  It is a historical claim focused on the lack of adequate protection of taiohi Māori (young people of Māori descent) and the intergenerational harm caused by problem gambling among their whānau, hapū, iwi (extended families and relatives) and urban Māori communities. However, this begs the question how can a Treaty claim improve the health outcomes of a generation of taiohi Māori who have been exposed to commercial gambling and its aggressive and targeted expansion and marketing?  This paper frames the WAI-1909 claim as a Kaupapa Māori (Māori research approach) derived from the research of three wahine toa (warrior women) supporting the claim; and refers to epistemological standpoints of Māori women working in the gambling research space. I demonstrate how the gambling claim challenges the New Zealand government to honour the promises in the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to protect the rights of its citizens, especially taiohi Māori. The WAI-1909 gambling claim concludes that whilst the New Zealand Gambling Act (2003) includes a public health approach to problem gambling, it has not adequately addressed the rights of tangata whenua (Māori, the first people of Aotearoa/New Zealand) under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Author Biography

Ruth Ann Herd, Independent scholar

Dr. Ruth Ann Herd is a member of the Te Atiawa Nation in North Taranaki and English descent. Ruth was born and bred in Auckland, New Zealand, and has taught in bilingual education. Ruth also has a visual and performing arts background and has worked in public health and research for the past 20 years. As a mother and grandmother Ruth is passionate about the health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families and is currently working at The Auckland Regional Public Health Service in the COVID-19 Response Unit - Pae Ora Team as a support worker for Māori families who have been displaced and negatively impacted by the pandemic




How to Cite

Herd, R. A. (2021). WAI 1909 – The Waitangi Tribunal Gambling Claim: How will it Improve the Health Outcomes for young Māori People?. Critical Gambling Studies, 2(2), 141–150. https://doi.org/10.29173/cgs91



Original Research Articles