The Littlewood Treaty, The True English Wording of the Treaty of Waitangi,
by Martin Doutré.

Chapter: Précis 1 2 3 4 5a,5b,5c,5d,5e 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Lord Normanby's Brief

Chapter 17


Although it has yet to be verified by expert handwriting analysis, it would seem that Reverend Williams has never received due recognition for several handwritten copies of Te Tiriti O Waitangi that he produced in the first few weeks of February and March of 1840. These he appears to have written in his capacity as official translator and yet our historians vaguely attribute these documents to others, like Henry Tacy Kemp. It seems very doubtful that Kemp, the 20-year old son of missionaries, James and Charlotte Kemp of Kerikeri, was employed in any capacity within the Hobson government until about mid-April 1840. While both Henry and Edward Williams were away on treaty assignments down country, it seems the government needed a translator to help Freeman in their absence. Perhaps it was Edward Marsh Williams who recommended that his friend, Henry Tacy Kemp, a young man about the same age as Edward, be brought in from Kerikeri to fill the temporary void.
Early era copies of Te Tiriti O Waitangi, produced by Reverend Henry Williams to fulfil official government requests or requirements, appear to include:

(1) The large, unsigned Tiriti O Waitangi copy (on paper), bearing 3 waxen seals. This copy is now held by the Catholic Diocese in St. Mary’s Bay, Auckland, having been gifted by Dr. Neville Hogg of Dargaville. By its appearance, one could easily speculate that it was originally written up by Reverend Henry Williams as the master copy, from which Freeman produced the other Tiriti O Waitangi documents sent around the country to the signing assemblies. Of this impressive document, Dr. Phil Parkinson states that it is an ‘early copy with a clear provenance. It was originally sent to Alfred Nesbit Brown and remained at Tauranga, unused, until another copy (the Tauranga sheet) turned up with Bunbury to be witnessed by James Stack. The unsigned sheet was long held at The Elms but was sold to the Winstone brothers about 1968. After it was passed in during the sale of their collection it was purchased by Neville Hogg’.

(2) The large parchment copy of Te Tiriti O Waitangi carried by Major Bunbury and Edward Marsh Williams to the South Island and Stewart Island aboard H.M.S Herald.

(3) The copy officially requested by James Reddy Clendon. This is still found in the Clendon House Papers at Special Collections, Auckland Public Library. At the top of page 1 of this 5-page document are the words “True Copy JaStuart Freeman” written diagonally up in the left hand corner.

(4) Treaty document sent to Sir George Gipps in the first despatch, leaving the Bay of Islands on the 8th of February 1840 aboard the Samuel Winter.

In the above documents, the author is, undoubtedly, the same throughout, although at a cursory glance it might appear there are some writing differences. The variations in style seem to be dependent upon whether Reverend Williams was writing a large, formal treaty sheet or simply providing quickly produced Tiriti O Waitangi documents for Sir George Gipps or U.S. Consul Clendon. Both thick and thin quill pens were, alternately, used and the pen attributes or speed of production had a considerable effect on the final outcome. The two large, more formal, Tiriti O Waitangi sheets were executed with great care and finesse.

Some historians, like Dr. Claudia Orange, have surmised that the Bunbury - Williams’ parchment treaty (the Herald Treaty) was penned by Henry Tacy Kemp. The Clendon copy is also, vaguely, relegated to this authorship, probably because of the way that the small “e” is occasionally rendered within the Clendon text. This variation in the “e” can, realistically, be attributed to Williams writing more rapidly and freely than with the other Tiriti copies he produced for use in the very formal signing ceremonies. Whereas Reverend Henry Williams had a very clear and legible handwriting style, Henry Tacy Kemp’s writing was quite illegible and, in many of his reports, could only be read by someone well acquainted to his jagged, poorly executed style. Here’s a sample of Kemp’s handwriting of about mid-April 1840, after he was employed as a very young interpreter by the Hobson government:

After about 1843, Henry Tacy Kemp seems to have come into prominence and to have secured permanent, responsible positions within the New Zealand colonial government, which carried him throughout his working life. A large body of his government functionary associated handwriting can be viewed amongst microfilm copies of the McLean Papers and his writing style did not improve dramatically as his years in the public service wearied on (see McLean Donald (Sir) Papers 1832 - 1927, originals @ MS- Papers 0032).

A sample of Henry Tacy Kemp's writing during his years in the government civil service. His style bears little or no resemblance to that found on the four Maori Tiriti documents nominated herein as having been written by Reverend Henry Williams in 1840.

It almost infers dereliction of duty that, after 165-years, our treaty experts are “guessing” when attempting to identify the (singular?) author who wrote two very important, main treaty documents and two associated diplomatic pouch documents. All of these documents were, seemingly, completed by early March 1840 and three of them appear to have been completed before H.M.S Herald sailed from the Bay of Islands on February 21st 1840, the Clendon copy being the only exception.

Dr. Phil Parkinson stated the following in his letter of March 31st 2005 to treaty researcher Ross Baker:

‘One point you have overlooked in your animadversions against Archives New Zealand is that it has never been strong in historical research on the documents it holds. This was stated clearly in 1914 when Robert McNab published the second volume of his Historical records of New Zealand, writing: “There is in New Zealand no department of archives, nor are there any officers with the duty imposed on them of collecting, arranging and publishing material regarding the infant days of the Dominion. The writer’s connection with the work is purely honorary ...” (McNab, Historical records v. 2 pp. ii-iv). Little has changed. Regrettable as it may be, historical research on such documents is mostly carried out by researchers in other institutions.’

Reverend Henry Williams, apart from his theological duties as head of the C.M.S. Mission, worked very hard in the first half of 1840 to establish, by treaty, a British colony in New Zealand. This he did because he firmly believed the benefits to Maori would be considerable. During this early period of treaty negotiation and signing assemblies around New Zealand, Henry Williams appears to have penned several clearly worded Tiriti O Waitangi translation duplicates, which were based upon the final English draft he’d worked from. He seems to have supplied the precise Tiriti text, in either handwritten or printed form, on demand, to overseas governments or any other interested parties requiring them. His so-called ‘certified copy’ refers solely to his Maori version translation, copies of which were included in the 21st of February despatches to Gipps and Normanby. Another Maori text copy was handwritten by Williams (?) to fulfil an official request for a “copy and translation” by U.S. Consul Clendon. Williams’ document was marked “true copy” and was accompanied by Busby’s final English draft.