Story: Atheism and secularism

Oaths in parliament

Oaths in parliament

Māori Party MP Hone Harawira swears the oath of loyalty to the Crown in the presence of the Clerk of the House, David McGee, at the opening of Parliament on 7 November 2005. Two years later Harawira introduced an amendment to the oaths which allowed for an optional pledge to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi.

Oaths are sworn on the Bible, and typically end with the words 'so help me God'. They were sworn not only in Parliament, but also in courts of law. Those without religion opposed this. In 1884 New Zealand legislation was amended to allow an affirmation to be made in court by those who did not want to take an oath. 

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NZPA Images
Reference: 1800
Photograph by Ross Setford

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Atheism and secularism - A Christian legacy', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 April 2024)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018