The Treaty of Waitangi || Te Tiriti O Waitangi

 Read the Treaty 
 Treaty Documents 
 Treaty Drafts 
 Key People 
 Lord Normanby's Brief 
 Land Sale Agreements 
 Why a Treaty? 
 Allan and Susan Titford vs the Tribunal 
 Order Book 
 The Certified Treaty 
 The Littlewood Treaty 
 US Despatches 


On the 30th of March, 1840, Reverend Robert Maunsell acknowledged that he had received a treaty document from "the Secretary"* (meaning James Stuart Freeman). By that point in time, the only valid document that he could possibly have received from the Secretary, for use in his meeting, was the "printed Maori-language" copy, as the hand-written Maori-language copy that Maunsell was supposed to use in his proceedings wasn't ultimately produced and available until mid-March at the Bay of Islands (a considerable distance away). It was to be carried to Maunsell by William Cornwallis Symonds and had been signed-off by the Colonial Secretary, Willoughby Shortland. This document is now known as "The Kawhia Treaty".

Dr. Phil Parkinson identifies the scribe of that Maori-language document to be James Stuart Freeman, Hobson's secretary. This official document, issued for Maunsell's meeting, arrived too late to be used on the day (April 11th, 1840).

But Freeman had sent other materials to Maunsell shortly before HMS Herald set sail from the Waitemata Harbour to return a stroke-inflicted and utterly incapacitated Hobson to the Bay of Islands just after the treaty meeting there on the 4th of March.

Freeman had taken it upon himself to also forward over to Maunsell a ruined copy of one of his "Formal Royal Style" versions in English. Earmarked for overseas despatch only, it had been ruined when Hobson had attempted a "left-handed" signature at the height of his stroke (between the 1st and 4th of March).

It was unprecedented to even suggest that an English-language version could ever be proffered to the chiefs to sign, as all treaty meetings were only ever conducted in the Maori language. This explains why an official, printed Maori-language text was sent at the same time. Sending Maunsell a printed Maori-language sheet worked as a stop-gap measure and, ultimately, a saving-grace when Maunsell's official, government-issued, hand-written, Maori-language sheet was delayed by 3-days in getting to him before his treaty assembly.

With Hobson being ill upon arrival in New Zealand and severely incapacitated by a paralytic stroke only 3-weeks after stepping ashore, many administrative blunders occurred in the first weeks or months. Not least amongst these displays of "functionary ineptitude or incompetence" was the careless production of many varied English renditions of the Treaty (Formal Royal Style versions, used only in overseas despatches).

On April 11th, 1840, Maunsell stood before 1500 Maori gathered in for a business hui at Port Waikato and read the official and solitary, Maori-language treaty to the assembly. He was obliged to work from the "printed Maori-language sheet" produced on the CMS Mission press by Reverend William Colenso (mission printer) on the 17th of February 1840.

The chiefs were later invited to sign the treaty, so the most senior of them in the Port Waikato area came forward first and signed the printed-Maori sheet. However, there was only sufficient space at the bottom of the page for 5 signatures.

Whatever signatures would not fit onto the printed-Maori text document, were allowed to overflow onto the "Formal Royal Style" sheet Freeman had sent over to Maunsell (accompanied by the printed-Maori sheet) before HMS Herald set sail from the Waitemata after the March 4th meeting there.

Hobson later accepted Maunsell's, two-part, "make-do" document and acknowledged the wishes of the Waikato Chiefs, whom he knew had heard and understood the official Maori Treaty wording presented to them by Maunsell.

This same "make-do" document was used again by Symonds in his 26th of April meeting at Manukau Heads (his third attempt at getting signatures there). He had, by this time, forwarded the "official Maori-language, hand-written, document" that he was supposed to use at all of his treaty-assembly meetings on to Reverend John Whitely at Kawhia.

Despite deliberate attempts by the grievance-industry to give the wrong impression, all treaty meetings in the Manukau - Port Waikato areas were conducted correctly in the Maori language and the chiefs signed according to what they heard and understood in their own tongue. The Formal Royal Style, English version, placed on the table that day, was used only to catch overflow signatures that would not fit on the printed-Maori sheet. Nothing more. It was merely a surplus piece of paper with plenty of room on it to receive the overflow signatures.

Later, the printed Maori sheet, with the Formal Royal style version sitting behind it, were glued together with wax to become one document and Hobson added a waxen seal to render Maunsell's "make-do", Maori language treaty "official".

*R Maunsell to Lay Secretary, 30 March 1840, in ATL-Micro-MS-Coll-04-33 (CMS Archives CN/M v. 12
pp 308-309).