The Treaty of Waitangi

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The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty that was first signed on 6 February 1840. It was signed by Captain William Hobson, a consul for the British Crown, and several Mori chiefs of the North Island of New Zealand. The Treaty outlines a number of important principles for the relationship between New Zealand and the Maori people.


In determining the meaning of the Articles of the Treaty of Waitangis, the Waitangi Tribunal must consider cultural and historical meanings and circumstances, as well as the intentions of the parties. When these factors are taken into account, variations in the articles of the Treaty are less problematic.

The Treaty of Waitangi has two texts, the English and Maori versions. While the English text is not an exact translation of the Maori text, both texts are legally binding and guarantee full protection to Maori interests and rights.

Signing date

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840 by rangatira (Maori chiefs) and British Crown representatives at the site of Waitangi on the North Island. It is considered the foundation document of Aotearoa New Zealand. Today, it is celebrated as a national holiday in New Zealand.

In the years following the Treaty's signing, the Treaty has gathered much significance, especially for Maori. In the late 1980s, the Treaty gained legal significance and a Waitangi Tribunal was created to enforce its terms. Its powers were initially limited, but in 1985 and 1988 it was strengthened and its membership was increased.

Signing process

The signing process of the Treaty of Waitangi took six months. It involved 45 Maori chiefs, Captain William Hobson, and English residents of New Zealand. The Maori version of the Treaty emphasized the protection of law and order and Maori trade, while the English-language version granted full sovereignty to the British Crown. The Maori version of the Treaty was not signed by all of the chiefs, although it is known that a majority of the chiefs signed the English version.

The signing process was accompanied by protests, which lasted until 1990. However, the protests were not as disruptive as in previous years. Tensions escalated again when the Government issued new proposals for Treaty claims in 1995. Despite the ongoing tensions, official commemorations were held at Waitangi in 1990 and commemorations were encouraged throughout New Zealand. The Waitangi Day Fund was established to support these events. As an educational tool, Waitangi Day commemorations are an opportunity to learn more about the Treaty and its impact on Maori culture.

Signing in Maori

Although the English version of the Treaty of Waitangi is the official document, the Maori version contains more subtle differences. The Maori version of the Treaty does not explicitly say that the Maori will give their sovereignty to the British. Instead, the word'sovereignty' is translated as kawanatanga, which means 'governance'. This ambiguous translation causes some people to question the true meaning of the Treaty.

The Treaty of Waitangi is a document signed in 1840 between the British Crown and 500 Maori chiefs. In that treaty, the British Crown declared itself the sovereign of New Zealand. The treaty was signed in both English and Maori languages, but most Maori chiefs chose to sign the Maori version of the document. There were differences in interpretations of the treaty, and both Maori and Europeans had different expectations of its terms. As a result, the resolution of the Treaty of Waitangi has been fraught with difficulties.

October 03, 2022


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Treaty of Waitangi

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