the treaty of waitangi


In 1972, historian Ruth Ross wrote a very important study on the Treaty of Waitangi. This was before the era of rampant "treaty industry" legalese and greed driven distortions of the treaty...designed to "turn a buck". Although the treaty cancer had already started, the grievance industry moguls were not yet in a position to dispossess "All the people of New Zealand" of their national wealth, through muddying the waters concerning resource "ownership". The ever aware, globalist vultures were, as yet, waiting, ready to swoop on the carcass ...just as soon as the carnage started.

New Zealand might well have had an altogether brighter history during the past three decades had Ruth Ross known about the "Littlewood Treaty"...Hobson's final English draft of the Treaty of Waitangi. A historian of her ability and honesty would, most certainly, have put the puzzle together once the centrally important missing piece was found.

Excerpt from a paper by Historian Ruth Ross, 1972, with some updated commentary by Martin Doutré, in line with recent findings.

Te Tiriti 0 Waitangi

Texts And Translations*

In submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries in 1971, the New Zealand Maori Council pressed 'for the recognition and observance of the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to the protection of Maori rights to their traditional resources of shellfish and fishing beds', the council's secretary stating that 'the Treaty of Waitangi was quite explicit in its promises about Maori fishing rights' (1). More recently, the Social Credit League asked the four Maori Members of Parliament jointly to sponsor the introduction of a Bill which, 'if passed, would have the effect of ratifying non-retrospectively the land and citizenship provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi' (2).

These are fairly typical examples of the sort of statement being made about the treaty by politicians, Maori organisations and other interested parties. The fact that the Treaty of Waitangi was an agreement in the Maori language is consistently ignored, the prime example of this being the schedule of the 1960 Waitangi Day Act. Headed "The Treaty of Waitangi", and, according to a former Attorney General, 'included as a schedule to provide convenient access to its information' (3), this agreement in the English language is neither a translation of the Treaty of Waitangi, nor is the Treaty of Waitangi a translation of this English text. The Treaty of Waitangi did not in fact say anything at all about fishing rights. The meaning of its 'land and citizenship provisions' is a matter for interpretation.

James Edward FitzGerald remarked in a debate on the Treaty of Waitangi in the House of Representatives in 1865: 'if this document was signed in the Maori tongue, whatever the English translation might be had nothing to do with the question.' He went on to point out: 'Governor Hobson might have wished the Maoris to sign one thing, and they might have signed something totally different. Were they bound by what they signed or by what Captain Hobson meant them to sign?' (4). To which one would now add the question: Was the Crown bound by what Hobson signed, or by what he assumed its meaning to be?

* This is a study in more detail and with some corrections, of one of the topics discussed by the writer in a paper given at a seminar on the Treaty of Waitangi held at Victoria University at Wellington, 19-20 February 1972.

(1) Auckland Star, Auckland, 30 June 1971.

(2) ibid., 11 July 1972.

(3) ibid., 28 July 1971.

(4) NZPD (1864-6), 292.

(4) Additional commentary by Martin Doutré (2004): A case in point relates to what happened at Port Waikato on the 11th of April, 1840. Reverend Maunsell's official, signed off, Government treaty document (always in the Maori language) did not arrive in time for his pre-scheduled meeting before 1500 Maori. He used one of Colenso's 200 printed Maori texts (produced 17/2/1840) as a "make-do" treaty for his presentation (the official wording...the printing of which was commissioned by Hobson as a paid government consignment). This printed Maori text document was later signed by the first of the signatory chiefs coming forward. Although no English version of the Treaty was vocally presented for the consideration of the chiefs on the day, someone had placed an incorrectly worded English copy, penned by James Stuart Freeman from early draft notes, on the table and the "overflow" signatures, that couldn't fit on the Maori text document, were allowed to be affixed to this document. Captain William Cornwallis Symonds, the government's assigned administrator for this assembly, did not arrive with the authorised document until 3-days later. Hobson had arranged for the correct, Maori text document, bearing the signature of Acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland, to be carried down to the meeting at Port Waikato with Symonds. The correct text wording had been vocally presented to the chiefs by Reverend Robert Maunsell... so, as James Edward FitzGerald remarked in a debate on the Treaty of Waitangi in the House of Representatives in 1865: Governor Hobson... 'wished the Maoris to sign one thing', and [some of them] ... 'signed something totally different'.

Any attempt to interpret the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi, or to understand what the signatories, both Hobson and the New Zealanders, thought it meant, must review the circumstances in which the agreement was drawn up, taking into account all relevant texts.

Instructions from Lord Normanby, Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 14 August 1839 authorized Hobson 'to treat with the Aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or any parts of those islands which they may be willing to place under Her Majesty's dominion' (5). Some of the difficulties which might be encountered in gaining the confidence of the New Zealanders were pointed out, but no draft terms to assist in the drawing up of such a treaty were supplied, either by the Colonial Office or by the Governor of New South Wales, under whose aegis Hobson was to act.

Hobson arrived in the Bay of Islands on 29 January 1840. James Busby, the former British Resident whose appointment ceased with Hobson's arrival, immediately went on board (6) and it was arranged that a meeting of the chiefs would be called at the former Residency at Waitangi for Wednesday, 5 February (7). Circular letters of invitation in the Maori language were printed on the mission press at Paihia early on the morning of 39 January (8).

It has been suggested that the Treaty of Waitangi 'was specifically to retract recognition of the sovereignty of the united tribes' (9) that is, of the confederation supposedly set up by He W[h]akaputanga o te Rangitiratanga o Nu Tireni, Busby's so-called declaration of independence, first signed in October 1835. But the contention that, with the signing of the declaration, 'His Majesty was advised to recognise the new polity', and that Britain now accepted that the sovereignty of New Zealand 'was vested in a defined authority (10) is not borne out by later events.

(5) GBPP, 1840, XXXIII [283], p. 38.

(6) Felton Mathew journal letter entry under 30 January 1840, J. Rutherford, ed., The Founding of New Zealand, Auckland, 1940, p. 25.

(7) Hobson to Gipps, 5-6 February 1840 GBPP, XXXIII, 560 p. 9.

(8) W. Colenso, The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Wellington, 1890, p.11; Colenso, Day and Waste Book, Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL).

(9) Ian Wards, The Shadow of the Land, Wellington 1968, p. 22, n. 3.

(10) ibid., p. 14. Ward's authority for this line of argument appears to be Glenelgs despatch to Bourke of 25 May 1836. This stated: 'With reference to the Desire which the Chiefs have expressed on this Occasion to maintain a good Understanding with His Majesty's Subjects, it will be proper that they should be assured, in His Majesty's name, that He will not fail to avail Himself of every Opportunity of shewing His Goodwill and of affording to those Chiefs such Support and Protection as may be consistent with due Regard to the just Rights of others and to the interests of His Majesty's Subjects'. GBPP, 1837/8, XXI, 680 p.159. This expression in His Majesty's name, of goodwill to the chiefs who had signed the declaration appears to fall somewhat short of advising His Majesty 'to recognise the new polity'.

Hobson was informed by the Colonial Office that Britain acknowledged New Zealand 'as a sovereign and independent state, so far at least as it was possible to make that acknowledgement in favour of a people composed of numerous, dispersed, and petty tribes, who possess few political relations to each other and are incompetent to act, or even to deliberate, in concert' (11). There is no reference to the united (or confederated) tribes (or chiefs), either in the main body of Hobson's instructions, or in further instructions written in answer to a query from Hobson, in which he had mentioned that the 'declaration of independence of New Zealand was signed by the united chiefs of the northern island only (in fact, only the northern part of that island)' (12).

The Secretary of State's continued avoidance of any mention of the united or confederated chiefs or tribes, or of the declaration of independence, his qualification of the sovereignty which Britain recognised as vested in the New Zealanders, surely dispels any theory that Hobson was instructed to treat with the 'confederation' (13) for the cession of New Zealand sovereignty.

Hobson knew of the declaration of independence from his earlier visit to the Bay of Islands in 1837, when he had shown himself well aware of the hollowness of its pretensions (14). His policy in 1840 of getting as many declaration signatories as possible to sign the treaty was no doubt wise, but it was certainly not his intention to invite only the confederated chiefs to the Waitangi meeting. He informed Gipps on the evening of 5 February that he had immediately on his arrival at the Bay of Islands 'circulated notices, printed in the native language, that on this day I would hold a meeting of the chiefs of the confederation, and of the high chiefs who had not yet signed the declaration of independence...' (15). In fact, the printed circulars invited only the chiefs of the confederation (16) to the meeting. The invitation was issued over Busby's name, (17) and there is other evidence suggesting that he contemplated a meeting only of the confederated chiefs (18). Busby had always exaggerated the viability of the confederation. His later claims about the Treaty of Waitangi were similarly distorted. Posterity's acceptance of Busby's claims to treaty authorship has in large part been responsible for today's chaotic misunderstanding about the Treaty of Waitangi.

(11). GBPP, 1840, XXXIII [238], pp. 37-38.

(12) ibid., p. 42.

(13) Te W(h)akamienga o nga Hapu o Nu Tireni, which was supposedly set up by He w(h)akaputanga o te Rangitiratanga o Nu Tireni, i.e. Busby's declaration of independence. This was signed initially on 28 October 1835 by 34 chiefs, nearly all from the Bay of Islands and its immediate environs. (The 35th signature was that of Eruera Pare, the kai tuhituhi, the writer who inscribed the document and the signatories names.) Later signatures, totalling 18, were mainly of Hokianga and Kaitaia chiefs, two notable exceptions being Te Hapuka of Hawkes Bay and Te Wherowhero of Waikato, whose name was the last to be added, in July 1839.

(14) Hobson to Bourke, 8 August 1837, GBPP, 1837/8, XL, 122, p. 4.

(15) GBPP, 1840, XXXIII, 560, p. 9.

(16 nga rangitira o te Wakaminenga o Nu Tireni - see reduced facsimile of the copy sent to Tamati Waka Néné, T Lindsay Buick, The Treaty of Waitangi, New Plymouth, 1936, f.p. 112. Colenso's ledger and Day and Waste Book, ATI, each shows only the one printing of 100 copies of 'Circulars for assembling Natives at Waitangi', thus ruling out the possibility of a differently worded version having also been printed for circulation to 'the high chiefs who had not yet signed the declaration'.

(17) Na te Puhipi.

(18) See Mathew's journal letter, entry for 30 January 1840; 'From Busby we learned it will not be possible to assemble the Chiefs of the "confederation" under Ten days...' Rutherford, p. 25.

(18) Additional commentary by Martin Doutré, 2004: In the 12-pages of rough draft notes for the English wording of the treaty, the pages penned by William Hobson and James Busby mention both the Confederation of United Chiefs and the Independent Chiefs. It is only within the rough draft notes penned by James Stuart Freeman, Hobson's secretary, that the Independent Chiefs are not mentioned. It would appear that by the 3rd of February 1840, when Busby wrote his rough draft, he was cognizant of the fact that the Independent Chiefs who had not joined the Confederation needed to be included in all treaty negotiations. Busby also mentioned the Confederation of United Chiefs and the Independent Chiefs in the final English draft, which he penned on the 4th of February 1840 under Hobson's supervision (The Littlewood Treaty).

To see all of the rough drafts and the "Final English Draft", CLICK HERE.

The English versions

Official despatches yield no clues about how the Treaty of Waitangi was drawn up, Hobson's report to Gipps after the first day's proceedings at Waitangi on the 5 February merely noting that the meeting of the chiefs had been called 'for the purpose of explaining to them the commands I have received from Her Majesty, and of laying before them the copy of the treaty which I had to propose for their consideration' (19).

In later years, Busby more than once claimed to have had the major part in drawing up the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1858, in an Auckland newspaper, he wrote: As I, myself, drew that Treaty...' (20). Two years later, in his attack on Sir William Martin's The Taranaki Question, Busby related that 'when it became necessary to draw the Treaty' Hobson was too unwell to leave the ship, so sent two of his officers to Busby with 'some notes, which they had put together as the basis of the Treaty'. Busby 'stated that I should not consider the propositions [sic] contained in those notes as calculated to accomplish the object', and offered to prepare a draft himself. 'The draft of the Treaty prepared by me', Busby claimed, 'was adopted by Capt. Hobson without any other alteration than a transposition of certain sentences, which did not in any degree affect the sense (21). Returning to the subject in 1865, he was even more dogmatic: " The Treaty as it now exists, with exception to the transposition of two sentences, was accordingly drafted by him [referring to himself], and was sent to the Revd. Henry Williams the head of the Church Mission for translation' (22).

The notes brought to him by Hobson's officers have survived and are reproduced in Fac-similes of the...Treaty of Waitangi (23). There are two sets of these notes. The first, in Hobson's handwriting, is a draft of a preamble only. The second set of notes, in the handwriting of J. S. Freeman, (24) Hobson's secretary, comprises the draft of a differently worded preamble and of three articles. Also reproduced in the Fac-similes is another set of articles, in Busby's hand. This is a fair copy of a draft of the Articles of a Treaty with the Native chiefs submitted to Hobson, 3rd Feby. 1840 (25).

(19) GBPP, 1840, XXXIII, 580, p. 9.

(20) Southern Cross, Auckland, 25 June 1858.

(21) J. Busby, Remarks upon a Pamphlet..., Auckland, 1860, pp. 3-4.

(22) J Busby, 'Occupation of New Zealand 1833-1843', typescript, Auckland Institute and Museum Library, p. 87.

(23) Wellington, 1877; reprint 1892; new edition, 1960.

(24) It is not always easy to identify the handwriting of minor officials, as they seldom sign the letters they write. It seemed likely that the second set of notes in the Fac-similes was in Freeman's hand, many of Hobson's despatches being in the same handwriting. Definite identification became possible with the chance finding of a letter to J. J. Galloway of 5 June 1840 signed by Freeman 'for the Colonial Secretary', IA I, 40/191, National Archives, Wellington.

(25) Ms 46, F 6, Auckland Institute and Museum Library.

(21, 22, 23, 24, 25) Additional commentary by Martin Doutré, 2004. When Ruth Ross wrote her paper in 1972, she could not know that an additional English treaty draft would be discovered in 1989 amidst family papers, by descendants of 1840's solicitor, Henry Littlewood. The rediscovered "final lost draft" was in the handwriting of James Busby and was virtually a perfect mirror image of the Maori Treaty text, 'without any other alteration than a transposition of certain sentences, which did not in any degree affect the sense'.

To see the "Final English Draft", CLICK HERE.

According to Henry William's 'Early Recollections': 'On the 4th of February, about 4 o'clock p.m., Captain Hobson came to me with the Treaty of Waitangi in English, for me to translate into Maori, saying that he would meet me in the morning at the house of the British Resident, Mr. Busby; when it must be read to the chiefs assembled at 10 o'clock' (26). Unfortunately the treaty text given to Williams to translate does not appear to have survived (27). Williams translation was read and discussed at the first day's meeting at Waitangi and then handed over to Richard Taylor who recorded in his journal under date 5 February 1840: 'I sat up late copying the treaty on parchment and I kept the original draft for my pains' (28). When it was suggested in the House of Representatives in 1865 that the original treaty was written by Mr. Taylor', Hugh Carleton, William's son-in-law, made it quite clear that only the handwriting was Taylor's: 'An alteration was made while the draft was under consideration, and Mr. Taylor volunteered to write out the whole afresh'. Colenso, also in the House, agreed that this was so' (29).

It would appear, therefore, that the treaty text signed at the second day's meeting at Waitangi differed in at least one respect from the draft which had been considered by the chiefs during the previous day. Was the alteration one of any consequence? Was there in fact only one alteration? Were the chiefs informed of the change(s) made? Carleton's bland explanation, apparently quite acceptable to his parliamentary colleagues, leaves many questions unanswered today. But this much is clear: the drafts, in English or in Maori, were merely drafts; it is the Maori text which was signed at Waitangi on 6 February 1840, and at other places at subsequent dates, by Hobson (and/or others acting for him) and a total of 500 (30) New Zealanders, which is the Treaty of Waitangi.

(26) Hugh Carleton, The Life of Henry Williams, Auckland, 1877, II, 12.

(27) It is not among the Williams papers in either the Auckland Institute and Museum Library or the Alexander Turnbull Library.

(28) Journal of the Rev. Richard Taylor, vol. 2 p. 189, typescript, Auckland Institute and Museum Library. No trace has been found of this 'original draft', i.e. William's translation.

(29) NZPD (1864-6), 292.

(30) Give or take one or two. See below, n. 41.

(27) Additional commentary by Martin Doutré, 2004: Thankfully, this final draft, although lost for almost 150-years, was located at Pukekohe in March, 1989 when John Littlewood and his sister, Beryl Needham were sorting out the estate of their recently deceased mother. It is now in the collection of the National Archives and has been positively identified to be in the handwriting of James Busby. It is dated the 4th of February 1840 and is written on paper bearing an 1833 W. Tucker watermark. It is now known that the sheet of paper, upon which the final English draft was written, came from the personal stock of James Reddy Clendon, Acting U.S. Consul at the Bay of Islands between 1838 and 1842.

(29) Ruth Ross appears to have overlooked a well recorded historical detail related to the piece of paper upon which Reverend Henry Williams' wrote the Maori translation version of the Treaty of Waitangi. In a private meeting that took place between 'Captain Hobson, Mr. Busby, the Rev. Henry Williams, and the Rev. Richard Taylor' at Busby's house, just prior to the treaty meeting of the 5th of February 1840, an 'alteration' was made to Williams' Maori translation. Mr. Busby 'suggested the elimination of the word Huihuinga used by the translators, and the substitution of Whakaminenga more adequately to express the idea of the Maori Confederation of Chiefs. With this exception the translation was adopted...' (see The Treaty of Waitangi, by T. Lyndsay Buick, pp. 113 & 117). Buick's footnote states: 'This was the term used by Mr. Busby to describe the "Confederation of Chiefs," and naturally he preferred it to the term chosen by Williams' (p. 113). The paper copy containing the Maori text was, therefore, marred by a word having been crossed out and another written in its place. Reverend Richard Taylor had the foresight to anticipate that the chiefs would probably want to sign the treaty on the 6th, rather than the 7th or at a later date. He stated, 'I thought it most likely nine-tenths of them would leave for their respective homes. I therefore sent a message to him [Hobson] and told him I would remain until I received his reply to give notice of the meeting to be held the next day. His reply was favourable and the rough copy of the treaty was sent to me to get copied...I sat up late copying the treaty on parchment and kept the original draft for my pains' (see footnote, p. 150, Treaty of Waitangi, by T. L. Buick).

What then is 'the English version'? In all, Hobson forwarded five English versions to his superiors in Sydney or London (31). The differences in wording of three of these versions are minor, of significance only because there are differences; two of the texts have a different date, (32) differ substantially in the wording of the preamble from the others, and from each other at one very critical point in the second article (33). A comparison of all five English versions with the Maori text makes it clear that the Maori text was not a translation of any one of these English versions, nor was any of the English versions a translation of the Maori text.

The relationship of these five English versions with the draft notes printed in Facsimiles was as follows: Hobson's draft became the preamble of three of the English versions, (34) the preamble of the other two versions (35) following the preamble in the Freeman draft (36). There is no mention of forests and fisheries in one version, (37) but otherwise the articles in all five versions are the same and draw heavily on Busby's draft, shorn of the major part of his wordy conclusion. Busby's articles, however, were in large measure an expansion of those in Freeman's notes. Busby's claim to have 'drawn' the treaty is thus a considerable exaggeration even if applied to the various English versions. His contribution to the Maori text of the Treaty of Waitangi itself was, as we shall see, minimal.

(31) These were enclosures in the following despatches (except in the parentheses in (d), page references are to the English versions, not to the despatches in which they are enclosed):

(a) Hobson to Gipps, 5-6 February 1840, of which a copy was enclosed in Gipps to Secretary of State, 19 February 1840 CO 209/6, pp. 52-54 and printed in GBPP, 1840, XXXIII, 560, pp. 10-11. (CO 209 is on microfilm, National Archives, Wellington) Note: All of this is available at the University of Auckland Library and Microfilm section.

(b) Hobson to Secretary of State, 40/1 of 17 February 1840, CO 209/7, pp. 13-14[v]; in the printed version, this despatch is dated 16 February. GBPP, 1841, XVII. 311, p. 10.

(c) Duplicate (dated 16 February 1840) of 40/1, G 30/1, pp. 29-32, National Archives, Wellington.

(d) Duplicate of Hobson to Secretary of State, 40/3 of 23 May 1840, G 30/1, pp. 75-78. (The original of 40/3 dated 25 May did not enclose an English version - see CO 209/7, pp. 55-64).

(e) Hobson to Secretary of State, 40/7 of 15 October 1840, CO 209/7, p. 178, printed GBPP, 1841, XVII, 311, pp. 98-99, where it is headed 'Translation' and follows the Maori text, which is headed 'Treaty'. But in the original 'certified copy of the Treaty both in the English and Native language' on CO 209/7, p. 178, the heading 'Treaty' applies to both English and Maori texts.

(32) The version enclosed with duplicates of 40/1 and 40/3 are both dated 'on the fifth day of February'; hence the wording 'by a Treaty bearing Date the Fifth day of February' in Hobson's proclamation of sovereignty over the North Island, 21 May 1840.

(33) See below an n. 37.

(34) Those forwarded to Gipps with the report of 5-6 February 1840 and to the Colonial Office with the originals of 40/1 and 40/7.

(35) Those forwarded with duplicates of 40/1 and 40/3.

(36) Of which the wording is as follows: Her most Gracious Majesty Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland regarding with deep solicitude the present State of New Zealand arising from the extensive settlement of British Subjects therein - and being desirous to avert the evil consequences which must result both to the Natives of New Zealand and to Her Subjects from the absence of necessary Laws and Institutions has been graciously pleased to empower and authorize me William Hobson a Captain in Her Majesty's Royal Navy, Consul and Lieutenant Governor in New Zealand to invite the Confederated Chiefs to concur in the following articles and conditions.' Cf, text of the agreement signed at Waikato Heads and Manukau in mid-March and late April 1840, p. 156 below.

(37) That enclosed with the duplicate of 40/1.

From the very beginning, confusion has reigned over what was the translation for which. For this Henry Williams himself was initially responsible. The English version forwarded with Hobson's first New Zealand despatch to the Secretary of State (38) was endorsed by Williams: I certify that the above is as Literal a translation of the Treaty of Waitangi as the idiom of Language will admit of''. Yet this is palpably incorrect; Williams knew better than anyone else that the Treaty of Waitangi was a translation of an English draft, not vice versa.

From the facts available it is apparent that what was given to Williams to translate about 4 p.m. on 4 February was a composite version of the draft notes of Hobson, Freeman and Busby. Whether this composite text was compiled by Hobson, or by his secretary or was their joint effort, it cannot have been put together until after Busby's draft articles had been 'submitted to Capt. Hobson' sometime on 3 February. The existence of a number of other English versions, all of them composite versions of the same draft notes, suggests a certain element of chance, as well as haste, in the compilation and selection of the version actually handed over for translation. That these other composite texts were afterwards forwarded at various times to Hobson's superiors, in each instance as though the text in question had official status - that is, was either a translation of the treaty, or the text from which the treaty had been translated - suggests a considerable degree of carelessness, or cynicism, in the whole process of treaty making.

(38) 40/1 of 17 February 1840, CO 209/7, pp. 13-14[v].

(38) Additional commentary by Martin Doutré, 2004. This despatch was dated the 17th of February 1840, the same day that CMS Mission printer, William Colenso, printed 200 copies of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Maori language. This was a paid, government consignment, for which the mission received payment in December of 1840. Along with the printed Maori Treaty there had earlier been the printing of two "Proclamations", which Lieutenant Governor Hobson had read to the settlers at Kororareka church on the 30th of January 1840. The acting US Consul, James Reddy Clendon, awaited the printed Maori treaty copies to come off the press, before sending his despatch number 6 to the US Secretary of State in Washington D.C. On the 20th of February 1840 Clendon sent 2 of Hobson's proclamations, a printed Maori text and a hand written English version of what the Maori text meant. His despatched English text was virtually identical to the "Littlewood Treaty" text, which is in Busby's handwriting and dated the 4th of February 1840, rediscovered in 1989.

Hobson's/ Freeman's 17th of February despatched English version of the Treaty to the British Secretary of State is fully in the handwriting of James Stuart Freeman, Hobson's secretary. The end notation, 'I certify that the above is as Literal a translation of the Treaty of Waitangi as the idiom of Language will admit of', is also in the handwriting of James Stuart Freeman. Reverend Henry Williams was not the "legislator" who wrote the English version of the Treaty of Waitangi. He was only the "translator" who took the final English draft and translated it into the Maori language. With the "so-called" 17th of February despatch (which did not leave the harbour aboard the "Martha" until the 21st of February, there were 3 printed copies of the Maori Treaty, fresh off the press, included. Two of these were destined for England in the despatch to Lord Normanby and one was destined to Governor Sir George Gipps in New South Wales (see Vol. G-30 /1, Repatriated Despatches, The National Archives of New Zealand, Wellington, to view the "original" documents).

This text was the "translation" Reverend Williams was certifying as being 'as Literal a translation of the Treaty of Waitangi as the idiom of the Language will admit of'. Two weeks earlier this selfsame Maori text, handwritten by Henry Williams, had been sent to Governor Gipps, then forwarded on to Normanby from Australia. Reverend Williams certification is solely in relation to either the hand written or printed Maori text that constituted his "translation" in behalf of the government. His certifying signature was put in the space designated by Freeman.

To compare Williams' "Translation" to the "Final English Draft" CLICK HERE.

To see one of the printed Maori Treaty pamphlets, CLICK HERE.

Governor George Gipp's later despatch to the Right Honourable Lord Russell, dated the 16th of March 1840 (when Gipps sent it) states the following: 'My Lord, with reference to my despatch of the 19th Feby last, no. 24. I have now the honour to forward to your Lordship a copy of a further letter from Lieut. Governor Hobson dated the 17th Feby, 1840 detailing his proceedings at Hokianga on the Western side of the Northern Island of New Zealand'.

To see the final English draft of the Treaty of Waitangi, CLICK HERE (page 1). CLICK HERE (page 2).

To see an excerpt of Freeman's certified Tiriti O Waitangi copy, for American Consul files or despatch CLICK HERE

One particular Treaty copy in Maori, penned by Reverend Henry Williams, appears to have been of very great importance to the Hobson government, as it bears three waxen "Great Seals" of the Colony beneath the Maori text, but no signatures other than a (February 1840 pre-paralytic stroke) signature of Lieutenant Governor William Hobson. This was probably the official "Master Copy" used by Freeman and other scribes for accurate transcription of the Maori text for either "signing assemblies" or despatch to foreign governments. Freeman penned the Opotiki, Queen Charlotte Sound and Tauranga Maori treaty documents. To see a segment of, what was probably, Williams' "Master Copy" transcription document, which is in the collection of the Catholic Diocese in Ponsonby, Auckland, N.Z. CLICK HERE

Hobson does not appear to have noticed the differences in the various English texts forwarded with his despatches, or, if he did notice them, thought them of no account. If the differences were noticed in the Colonial Office, it was perhaps supposed that Hobson's despatch of 15 October 1840 with its enclosure of 'a certified copy of the Treaty both in English and the Native language; with names inserted of the Chiefs and witnesses who signed it (39). This 'long roll of parchment' made quite an impression in the Colonial Office, (40) but at some stage the greater portion of it, comprising a list of 512 signatures (41) was taken off and apparently lost, leaving only the 'certified' Maori and English texts (42). Set out side by side, the heading 'Treaty' applying as much to one as to the other, these were no doubt taken to be alternative texts, one a translation of the other. In fact, the Maori text was that of the Treaty of Waitangi to which, ultimately, approximately 500 (43) names were appended over a period of seven months (44). The English text, though closely resembling two of the earlier versions, differed slightly in wording here and there not only from these two but also from the English text to which thirty-nine names had been appended at Waikato and Manukau in March and April 1840.

No contemporary mention has been found of the fact that although the great majority of treaty signatories signed the Maori text of the Treaty of Waitangi, there were also these few signatures to an agreement in the English language. In the present century, most discussion ignores the fact that the treaty of Waitangi was an agreement in the Maori language. Yet how can the English text be thought to have any validity at all? True, Hobson signed the Waikato - Manukau agreement, but on at least one point of pre-emption, he was mistaken about its actual meaning. It is impossible even to guess what the thirty nine men of Waikato and Manukau thought the document meant. There seems to have been no copy of the Maori text at hand at the time and no record has survived of how the English text was explained to them. Even the date (or dates) in March when the Waikato names were added is unknown.

(39) Hobson to Secretary of State, 15 October, 40/7, CO 209/7, pp. 102-102[v].

(40) See James Stephen's minute of 9 March 1841 to Vernon Smith, ibid., p. 103[v].

(41) At this stage Hobson appears to have had in his possession the following sheets of the treaty: the Waitangi sheet with the Kaitaia signatures also attached, the two Bay of Plenty sheets, the Herald sheet, the Cook Strait sheet and the East Coast sheet, with a total of 484 names. If one adds the 39 names on the Waikato - Manukau agreement in the English language, the total is 523. It would thus seem that either in New Zealand or in the Colonial Office eleven names have been omitted in the process of copying and counting perhaps deliberately for as 'signatures', some are indeed of very doubtful validity. The Manukau - Kawhia sheet, with 13 more names, came to hand later, and there is also a printed sheet (of the Maori text) with 5 more name, undated, making a grand total of 541, by my count, 502 (including both Te Rauparaha's signatures) being appended to the Maori text, 39 to the agreement in the English language.

(42) CO 209/7, p. 178.

(43) See n. 41 above.

(44) From the first signatures, taken at Waitangi on 6 February, to the last dated signature, at Kawhia on 3 September. The signatures on the printed sheet may have been added later still.

Additional commentary by Martin Doutré, 2004. One has to take into account just how ill Captain William Hobson was upon arrival in New Zealand on the 29th of January 1840. Historian, T. Lyndsay Buick acknowledges this fact when writing about events around the 31st of January 1840: 'To add to their difficulties, Captain Hobson began to now experience the first symptoms of that illness which in less than three years proved fatal to him' (see The Treaty of Waitangi, by T.L. Buick, p. 109). After the meeting before the chiefs on the 5th, an old Maori looked Hobson in the face and declared, 'An old man...he will soon be dead'. In truth, Hobson had to delegate tasks and trust his secretary to work methodically, without supervision. James Stuart Freeman, 'a third class clerk' was assigned to Hobson by Governor Gipps of NSW and Hobson barely knew him. During Hobson's first three weeks in New Zealand, he had a very busy schedule, attending treaty assemblies. His travels took him both North and South, often in gruelling and physically demanding conditions. On the 1st of March 1840, only one month after arrival in New Zealand, he had a massive stroke, which paralysed him on his right side, requiring him to hand over the reins of office to Willoughby Shortland while he slowly recuperated. It seems apparent that, without supervision, James Stuart Freeman manufactured many strange English versions of the treaty, none of which were based upon the very plain and simple "final English draft". Freeman, whose handwriting was very stylish with many flamboyant flares, swirls and tails, also seemed to have a penchant for more pretentious language, hence his preference for the more grandiose texts that appeared in the early, English treaty drafts, which he had authored. While Hobson was ill, away, or incapacitated, Freeman dipped into the early treaty drafts at will, and manufactured many strange versions of the treaty, which he then despatched to several locations overseas or within New Zealand.

Additional commentary about what actually happened at Port Waikato - Manukau. With Hobson very ill and convalescing at Waimate, Willoughby Shortland, Acting Lieutenant Governor, issued William Cornwallis Symonds, Deputy Surveyor General, with a Maori version of the Treaty to be signed at Manukau, then Port Waikato, then Kawhia. This large, impressive, hand-written sheet was pre-signed by Willoughby Shortland and issued to Symonds on March 13th 1840. Symonds proceeded to Manukau to be assisted by missionary, James Hamlin. Because of sabotage to their effort by a northern chief from Pompallier's congregation, they got no signatures in their first meeting. Symonds organised a second treaty meeting. At this assembly he managed to get 3 Ngati-Whatua chiefs to sign. Symonds tarried in the area until April 3rd, after which time he attempted to reach Reverend Robert Maunsell in time for his treaty meeting at Waikato Heads. Unfortunately, Symonds arrived about 3-days too late.

Maunsell had presented the treaty text from one of Colenso's printed Maori copies, which Ruth Ross refers to above as 'a printed sheet (of the Maori text) with 5 more names, undated'. This sheet is signed by Reverend Robert Maunsell and was used for his meeting of April 11th to provide the treaty text. Also on the table at Maunsell's meeting was an incorrectly worded English treaty version, penned by Freeman. How this found its way to Maunsell remains a mystery. This is the copy Ruth Ross refers to as 'the Waikato - Manukau agreement in the English language'. After 5 chiefly signatures (marks) were affixed (with Maunsell's assistance) to the Maori copy, there was no room available for further names, so the next 32 "overflow" signatures were recorded by Reverend Robert Maunsell within the large space available below the text of the English sheet and all signatures were then witnessed by Maunsell's assistant, Reverend Benjamin Yate Ashwell.

To see the Maori Treaty of Waitangi document that Maunsell used at Port Waikato, CLICK HERE

To see the "government issued" document Maunsell was supposed to use, CLICK HERE

The only "official", government issued and executive pre-signed, Maori version sheet to be used at that meeting (brought too late by Symonds), was forwarded on by messenger to Reverend John Whiteley of the Kawhia mission station. William Symonds, having been promised additional signatures at Manukau (Awhiti) decided to return there for a third meeting, in hopes of getting the signature of Paramount chief, Te Wherowhero. For this third meeting he took the two signed sheets of paper (one in Maori and one in English) that constituted Maunsell's "make-do" treaty. On the 26th of April 1840, Symonds added 7 more signatures of Manukau chiefs to Maunsell's "make-do" treaty documents. Like at all other assemblies around New Zealand, the treaty meetings of both Maunsell and Symonds were presented to the chiefs in their native tongue. Hobson, later in May, accepted all signatures appearing on these two "make-do" documents, bearing Maunsell's, Ashwell's and Symond's signatures, along with 44 chiefs. Hobson knew that all the proceedings had been conducted correctly in the native tongue and that the chiefs had understood what they were signing.

To be continued.




The Certified Treaty