|Waitangi Grounds. Photo courtesy of Karsten Grillitsch.
Treaty of Waitangi: 170 Years -
Te Tiriti o Waitangi,
E 170 nga tau
Whatever peoples' opinions as to its meaning or value, the Treaty's signing was
certainly a major event in New Zealand's history.
|Interior of the Whare Runanga or meeting house at Waitangi, built in 1940 to
celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Treaty's signing.
Photo courtesy of Klaudio Dadich.
The Treaty of Waitangi however, must be seen in the context of events that
happened over a number of years before 1840 to best understand Maori/ Pakeha
relations at this time and to comprehend why an agreement such as this would be
made between Maori chiefs and the British crown.
were becoming increasingly concerned at
lawlessness by sailors, escaped
convicts and adventurers from New South Wales. The fear of amoral sailors had
augmented following the
The Church and Missionary Society were anxious to find solutions to these
growing problems. They felt the behaviour of some of the Pakeha sent the wrong
messages to Maori about the 'civilizing' influence of European contact.
At the suggestion of New South Wales Governor Darling, missionary
William Yate assisted 13 northern
chiefs to prepare a
to King William IV, asking for
his protection. They signed with their moko. The British Crown acknowledged the
petition and promised protection.
James Busby was appointed
and settled with his family at Waitangi. His main duties, outlined in
Governor Richard Bourke, were to protect 'well disposed
settlers and traders', to prevent outrages by Europeans against Maori and to
apprehend escaped convicts. Bourke also urged Busby to utilise chiefly
authority, to direct Maori towards a 'settled form of government', so that their
leaders might eventually accept collective responsibility for enforcing
regulations on Maori and Pakeha alike.
A year later in 1834 the selection of a
National Flag was cast by vote of Northern
chiefs. When officially gazetted a year later in New South Wales, some details
original version is widely
used today by Maori groups, in particularly the descendents of those chiefs who
voted. In July 2009 it was proposed as one of four possible designs for an
Maori flag at a series of hui around New Zealand.
In 1835 a particularly significant event took place at Waitangi. The
Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand was signed by 34 Northland
Chiefs on October 28th. Further signatures were to be collected by Busby,
totalling 52 and including the Waikato Chief
Potatau Te Wherowhero,
who would later become the first
In the years following the signing of the Declaration interest in New Zealand by
other nations such as France and America grew.
Baron Charles de Thierry was a notable threat because if New Zealand was
annexed by any other nation,
Britain's capital investments would not be protected.
In 1837 an illegal company, the
Zealand Association, was formed in England with the
object of purchasing land from Maori, with the aim of selling it on at a profit
to colonists as well as having a strong political agenda.
Following the report of the Select Committee on Aborigines and the House of
Lords inquiry into the
present state of the islands of New Zealand (1838) many
humanitarians became concerned about the harmful effects on Maori of exposure to
the various types of Europeans that arrived here.
Missionaries and others from New
Zealand, Australia and England pressured the British Government to prevent the
spread of immoral behaviour as well as the introduced diseases that were causing
the population to markedly decline. Given Busby's inability to act, the
preference was eventually for annexation and direct government.
Captain William Hobson was sent to act for
the British Crown in the negotiation of a treaty between the Crown and Maori and
in 1840 The Treaty of Waitangi was drafted in English by himself, his secretary
James Freeman and James Busby.
and his son Edward were given the job of translating the text into Maori. This
translation would later prove to be
controversial due to the
terminology used and the differences between the Maori version and the English
was the first Maori chief to sign at
Waitangi. James Busby's property in Waitangi
provided the setting for the meeting. The tent made for the signing (from ships'
sails) stood in front of his house, now known as Treaty House.
After 6th February the
Treaty travelled the country
Over 500 Maori signed although some chiefs chose not to, others did not have the
opportunity as it did not reach their tribal areas. 13 of the signatories were
Maori women; almost all signed the Maori version. Only 39 chiefs were to sign
the English version.
In May 1840 Hobson proclaimed
sovereignty over New Zealand. Today Maori continued to
struggle to assert their Tino Rangatiratanga or Maori sovereignty.
In 1841 the Treaty documents were nearly destroyed in a fire and later they were
damaged due to poor storage. Today they are on permanent display in the
Constitution Room at Archives New
Zealand in Wellington.
|Waitangi House (James Busby's House). Photo courtesy of Steve Whitehead.
Auckland Libraries' Māori resources page for information about the resources available across the wider Auckland region.
Alternatively, the Waitakere Libraries Māori
resources page gives an introduction to the resources and services we
offer in the West Auckland area.
Learn more about researching your whakapapa, how to access resources like the
Maori Land Court Minute Books, the Raupatu Document Bank, the Legal Maori
Archive plus many other useful resources.
Treaty of Waitangi Material at Waitakere Libraries
Search our catalogue using a subject or kaupapa search for Treaty of Waitangi.
Selection of Books
Much has been written about the Treaty in recent decades. Below is just a small
selection of material held at Waitakere Libraries. Click on the titles to see
more about each book.
Brief Guides to the Treaty
Treaty : every New Zealander's guide to the Treaty of Waitangi
of Waitangi : questions and answers
about the Treaty
story of the Treaty. Part 1
story of the Treaty. Part 2
journey of the Treaty
Timeline of the Treaty
The Treaty & its History
Waitangi revisited : perspectives on the Treaty of Waitangi.
Edited by Michael Belgrave.
An illustrated history of the Treaty of Waitangi
by Claudia Orange.
The Treaty of Waitangi
by Claudia Orange.
Healing our history : the challenge of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Treaty and its times : the illustrated history
by Paul Moon & Peter Biggs.
Te ara ki te Tiriti = The path to the Treaty of Waitangi
by Paul Moon.
Histories, power and loss : uses of the past : a New Zealand commentary.
Edited by Andrew Sharp and Paul McHugh.
Agents of autonomy : Maori committees in the nineteenth century.
The 150 year debate : a selection of quotations on the Treaty of Waitangi.
Constitutional aspects of the Treaty
Waitangi and indigenous rights: revolution, law and legitimation
by F.M. Brookfield.
The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand's law and constitution
by Matthew S.R. Palmer.
Sovereignty & indigenous rights : the Treaty of Waitangi in international
contexts. Edited by William Renwick.
Waitangi Tribunal & Claims
The Waitangi Tribunal and New Zealand history
by Giselle Byrnes.
The Waitangi Tribunal = Te Roopu Whakamana i te Tiriti o Waitangi.
An unsettled history : Treaty claims in New Zealand today
by Alan Ward.
Historical frictions : Maori claims and reinvented histories
by Michael Belgrave.
Treaty negotiations : a guide to Crown policy and practice : an explanation of
the Crown's policy and practice in relation to Treaty of Waitangi negotiations,
in a question and answer format. (Library use only).
Te Whanau o Waipareira report (Wai 414).
Waitangi Tribunal Report. (Library use only).
The Treaty & Biculturalism
Waitangi : Maori and Pakeha perspectives of the Treaty of Waitangi. Edited by I.H. Kawharu.
Partnership and peace : essays on biculturalism in Aotearoa - New Zealand.
(Library use only).
Bullshit, backlash and bleeding hearts : a confused person's guide to the great
Beyond biculturalism : the politics of an indigenous minority
by Dominic O'Sullivan.
Maori sovereignty : the Maori perspective.
Edited by Hineani Melbourne.
Maori sovereignty : the Pakeha perspective.
Edited by Carol Archie.
Children's / Student / Teaching
Awesome Aotearoa : Margaret Mahy's history of New Zealand.
Magic eyes. I spy New Zealand history.
The Treaty = Te Tiriti / Mere Whaanga.
The story of a treaty
by Claudia Orange.
Aotearoa bound by Justine Jenkins.
Our Treaty : the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 to the present
by Ruth Naumann.
Tangata Tiriti = Treaty people : an interactive workbook on the Treaty of
Whare, the house : a film and educational resource about the Treaty of Waitangi.
can help you find more information about the Treaty of Waitangi.
E.g. Try "Index New Zealand" or "Knowledge Basket - New Zealand Index" to find
articles from New Zealand newspapers, magazines and journals.
Or search resources like "Australian/NZ Reference Centre", "Bateman New Zealand
Encyclopedia" and "Encyclopædia Britannica".
New Zealand History Online Treaty of Waitangi
Te Reo site about
Treaty Resource Centre
Te Ara : the Encyclopedia
of New Zealand
Archives New Zealand
Dictionary of New
Waitangi National Trust
Office of Treaty Settlements