Chris Hipkins unable to name all three Treaty of Waitangi articles while Christopher Luxon can

Incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins wasn't able to name all three of the Treaty of Waitangi articles during his first press conference as the incoming Prime Minister.

Speaking on Sunday after successfully being elected by the Labour caucus as the party's new leader, Hipkins was asked to name the three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

After briefly umming and ahhing, he successfully named two out of the three articles.

"We have Kawanatanga, Tino Rangatiratanga, and, actually no, I can't remember the other, sorry," Hipkins said.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon was asked the same question on the spot during a press conference later on Sunday. 

"The first Treaty principle is sovereignty, the second one is Rangatiratanga, and the third one is around equality," he said.

"The Treaty is really designed to bring us all together as New Zealanders, that's what it's about."

In the Māori text of article 1, Māori gave the British 'kawanatanga', the right of governance, whereas in the English text, Māori ceded 'sovereignty'.

In Article 2, the Māori version uses the word 'rangatiratanga' in promising to uphold the authority that tribes had always had over their lands and taonga. This choice of wording emphasised status and authority, the Waitangi Tribunal explains. Whereas in the English text, Māori were guaranteed the undisturbed possession of their properties, including their lands, forests, and fisheries, for as long as they wished to retain them. This text emphasises property and ownership rights.

Article 2 also allowed for land sales to be effected through the Crown. This gave the Crown the right of pre-emption in land sales.

And in article 3, the Crown promised to Māori the benefits of royal protection and full citizenship. This text emphasises equality, the Waitangi Tribunal said.

The question of a politician naming the Treaty of Waitangi articles isn't new. In 2019, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked by a reporter during her Waitangi trip what Article 1 of the Treaty of Waitangi said.

After saying "Kawanatanga", which she said after some help from Willie Jackson and other ministers standing behind her, she didn't go into detail about what the article said.

She also correctly named Tino Rangatiratanga as Article 2 when asked, but wasn't asked to explain what Article 3 means.

"I know the principles of Waitangi, I know our obligations," she said at the time.

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

Changes to the education curriculum announced later in 2019 meant the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as other parts of New Zealand's history, were taught in schools.