The Treaty of Waitangi || Te Tiriti O Waitangi

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WHY A TREATY...recounted by Ross Baker, Historian. Many books written as to why New Zealand needed a treaty are so complicated and in many cases biased that few take the time to read all these and extract the facts. If we are to understand the Treaty, then first we must understand why it was instigated and by whom.

For ten years prior to the Treaty, the Missionaries had tried to encourage the Maoris to form their own independent government and state, but the chiefs, as always, could not agree between themselves and in the end it became evident that New Zealand must become a British Colony under British Sovereignty if the Maoris were to survive.
(From 1814, Samuel Marsden, one of the first missionaries in New Zealand, gave the Maoris an introduction to the British Government by inviting them to Australia. Some even remained to obtain an education. The Maoris knew of the British Government in these early times. Some worked on British and foreign ships as crew. Ngapuhi chief Hongi made a trip to England in 1820 to meet the King. On his return to New Zealand he stopped off in Australia and traded all the gifts the King had given him on 300 muskets and then initiated a ten year period of warfare and cannibalism on his fellow countrymen, slaughtering thousands for no apparent reason).

After Cook's three exploratory voyages (commencing) in the 1760's and the establishment of a British penal colony in Australia, trade and Christianity came to New Zealand. British, French and American vessels began visiting New Zealand harbours in the late 18th century to refresh and refit. From the early 1800's commercial trading started in New Zealand with timber, flax, shore whaling, ship building and general trade with the Maoris and non-Maoris who had established themselves in New Zealand. By the 1830's the coast was dotted with trade settlers as well as several missionaries who had also purchased land and set up home. However, after 1830 purchases of land grew until there were quite large acreages of land owned by non-Maori. By 1839 there were 2000 permanent settlers, 28 onshore fisheries and many commercial ventures in flax, timber and ship building, plus general and domestic trade by non-Maori. The capital invested in New Zealand was made known by Hobson to the Colonial Office in his report in 1837 as well as in a letter to his wife in the same year.

Up until 1832 the British or Imperial Government was reluctant to intervene in New Zealand, but as more and more settlers arrived and trade and investments expanded, the British Government felt responsible for her people and their investments as well as the Maoris. They did pass three acts in 1817, 1823 and 1828 in an attempt to bring law and order, but as New Zealand was outside the British Dominion, these were unsuccessful. In 1820, after Hongi had slaughtered many thousands of the Thames Maoris, they requested that Britain afford them protection.

By the early 1830's trade between New Zealand had become so intense that there could be up to 30 ships at anchor and 1000 seamen on shore at any one time but still no law to control them or the Maoris. The 1828 Act did empower the courts to deal with crimes by British subjects but these had to be heard in Sydney and therefore it was difficult to get all parties together at the same time.

While British interests and investments continued to increase and become predominant at the time, French and American activity was also on the increase. This worried the British as they were beginning to build up large capital investments in New Zealand but with no protection if New Zealand was annexed by another nation.

Many events sparked off Maori appeals to Britain for protection. The first in 1831 when it was rumoured that the French naval vessel La Favourite intended to annex New Zealand to France in retaliation for the killing of Marion du Fresne and his crew. The Maoris even discussed a letter to the King asking for his protection but decided on placing a British flag on the mission flagstaff, reasoning that if the French tore it down, the missionaries would appeal to Britain for protection. After this 13 powerful northern chiefs did send a letter to the King asking him to become their friend, guardian and protector of these islands.


(Enclosure 2 in No. 1.)
From WILLIAM YATE, Esq., to the COLONIAL-SECRETARY, New South Wales.
I have the honour to forward to you, by His Majesty's ship "Zebra" the enclosed New Zealand document, with its translation, and the request that it be transmitted through His Excellency to the Secretary of State, in order to its being laid before His Majesty.
I have, & c.,

(Enclosure 3 in No. 1.)
King William,
We, the chiefs of New Zealand assembled at this place, called the Kerikeri, write to thee, for we hear that thou art the great chief of the other side of the water, since the many ships which come to our land are from thee.
We are a people without possessions. We have nothing but timber, flax, pork and potatoes, we sell these things however to your people then we see property of the Europeans. It is only thy land which is-liberal towards us. From thee also come the missionaries who teach us to believe on Jehovah God and on Jesus Christ His Son.

We have heard that the tribe of Marian* is at hand coming to take away our land, therefore we pray thee to become our friend and the guardian of these islands, lest the teazing of other tribes should come near us, and lest strangers should come and take away our land.

And if any of thy people should be troublesome and vicious towards us (for some persons who are living heree who have run away from the ships,) we pray thee to be angry with them that they may be obedient, lest the anger of the people of this land fall upon them.

This letter is from us, of the chiefs of the natives of New Zealand.
The foregoing is a literal translation of the accompanying document.

Secretary to the Church Missionary Society, New Zealand.
1 Wareahi. Chief of Paroa.
2 Rewa.- Chief of Waimate.
3 Patuone ) Two brothers, chiefs of
4 Nene ) Hokianga
5 Kekeao Chief of tile Ahuahu.
6 Titore Chief of Kororaika.
7 Tamoranga Chief of Taiamai.
8 Ripe Chief of Mapere.
9 Hara Chief of Ohaiwai.
10 Atuahaere Chief of Kaikohe.
11 Moetara Chief of Pakanai.
12 Matangi Chief of Waima.
13 Taunui Chief of Hutakura.


This is a very interesting document and gives a true indication of the feelings of the Maoris in New Zealand in 1831.
The second (event) was when the Ngati Toa of Kapiti conspired with the English captain of the Elizabeth to raid and kill members of the Ngati Tahu of the South Island. The culprits avoided punishment due to the uncertainties regarding British subjects in New Zealand. Northern Maoris were disturbed by the alliance of the Maoris and the British, fearing it could set a precedence for their enemies. These events and the calls of the settlers persuaded the Colonial Office to appoint a British Resident to New Zealand, not only to bring law, order and protection to the people, but also to British trade and investment from a foreign invasion.

There was also a threat from Baron Charles Philippe Hippolyte de Thierry to declare a French Sovereignty over New Zealand. He had purchased a large area of land at Hokianga and it was rumoured that he had summoned a French warship to enforce his Sovereignty as well as a body guard of Tahitian trained Maoris to sustain it. The French Government also expressed interest to appoint de Thierry to the office of French Consul to New Zealand.

As well as Maori appeals to Britain for protection, there was still the memory by the settlers of the slaughter of 70 crew and passengers, including women and children, by the Maoris when the "Boyd" arrived in New Zealand waters in 1814.
These were just a few of the events which made it inevitable that the British would have to have some legal control over New Zealand for the benefit of all, especially the Maoris whose population was diminishing so quickly now that they had the musket that it was feared they would soon disappear.


In 1832, the decision was finally taken to appoint James Busby as Resident to New Zealand. Busby was to be an intermediary between the races but without forces this was virtually impossible. For example, in 1834 the Harriet went aground at Cape Egmont and some of the crew were killed by local Maoris. The Alligator then bombarded the pa destroying canoes and killing many Maoris in retaliation, but Busby could do little to help as he had no forces. Faced with brawling, boundary disputes, stock losses, theft, assault and murder, plus the never ending fighting between the tribes, Busby could do little but arbitrate. The Maoris as well as the settlers started asking where was the protection that they had been promised by the King with Busby's arrival.

Large areas of land and forests were being sold by the Maoris at this time to individual settlers and the New Zealand Company, a company set up to purchase land from the Maoris and later the Imperial Government, and then send out settlers from Britain to purchase it at a profit. The Maoris were also travelling to Australia to sell land, which in some cases they did not own, did not have the authority to sell or sold many times over. This caused much unrest resulting in war between the tribes with some settlers and their families being killed when they tried to claim their purchases. For example, Kapiti Island was sold to five different buyers, Porirua was sold to eight and Taranaki was sold, fought over, returned and bought again so many times, it's difficult to remember. Busby's instructions were to direct the Maoris towards a form of united Government or collective Maori Sovereignty to stop intertribal fighting and bring law and order to all the people of New Zealand.


In 1834 Busby introduced a national flag to New Zealand to give recognition to her Sovereignty and Independent Status and to be carried by all New Zealand built ships as well as being displayed on shore. This led to 34 chiefs signing a Declaration of Independence in 1835 with the King giving his assurance that he would protect the Maoris and their land as long as it was consistent with the just rights of others and the interests of the British Subjects. If Britain wanted to formally intervene now, the independent status of the country would have to be nullified with the consent of the Maoris. This did give Britain an advantage as she was now the protector and therefore would have some input into the control of law making of the country as well as protection of her people and investments.



1. We, the hereditary chiefs and heads of the tribes of the Northern parts of New Zealand, being assembled at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, on this 28th day of October, 1835, declare the Independence of our country, which is hereby constituted and declared to be an Independent State, under the designation of the United Tribes of New Zealand.

2. All sovereign power and authority within the territories of the United Tribes of New Zealand is hereby declared to reside entirely and exclusively in the hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes in collective capacity, who also declare that they will not permit any legislative authority separate from themselves in their collective capacity to exist, nor any function of government to be exercised within the said territories, unless by persons appointed by them, and acting under the authority of laws regularly enacted by them in Congress assembled.

3. The hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes agree to meet in Congress at Waitangi in the autumn of each year, for the purpose of framing laws for the dispensation of justice, the preservation of peace and good order and the regulation of trade; and they cordially invite the Southern tribes to lay aside their private animosities and to consult the safety and welfare of our common country, by joining the Confederation of the United Tribes.

4. They also agree to send a copy of this Declaration to His Majesty the King of England, to thank Him for his acknowledgement of their flag; and in return for the friendship and protection they have shown, and are prepared to show, to such of his subjects as have settled in their country, or resorted to its shores for the purposes of trade, they entreat that they will continue to be parent to their infant State and that he will become its Protector from all attempts upon its independence.
Agreed to unanimously on the 28th day of October 1835, in the presence of His Britannic Majesty's Resident.
(Here follows the signatures or marks of thirty five Hereditary Chiefs or Heads of tribes, which form a fair representation of the tribes of New Zealand from the North Cpe to the latitude of the River Thames.

English witnesses:-
(Signed) Henry Williams, Missionary, C.M.S.
George Clarke, C.M.S.
James R. Clendon, Merchant.
Gilbert Mair, Merchant.
I certify that the above is a correct copy of the Declaration of the Chiefs, according to translation of Missionaries who have resided ten years and upwards in the country; and it is transmitted to His Most Gracious Majesty the King of England, at the unanimous request of the chiefs.
(Signed) James Busby
British Resident at New Zealand

The signatures to this declaration pledged to assemble annually to form laws for the promotion of peace, justice and trade, but the ever present intertribal tension and fighting took precedence over political co-operation, as always, and it was abandoned. It finally became evident that the chiefs could never form a united working Government.

Early in 1837, a serious outbreak of intertribal fighting began in many parts of New Zealand. Up until this time the Maoris had been cultivating their land and had built up large gardens, orchards and flax plantations but had exchanged most of the produce for muskets and powder. The temptation now was to abandon and neglect all this and settle old scores with their rival tribes once they had sufficient fire power. What they had achieved since the Europeans arrived was destroyed for ever by their own hand and the will to fight.

The settlers, traders, missionaries and 192 chiefs wanted more than a half hearted official commitment represented by Busby and appealed to Britain for more effective Government. As tribal fighting increased and the Maori population decreased, Britain had to take more control as she had promised to protect the people and their property. To do this, New Zealand had to become a British Colony, even although the Colonial Office in Britain wanted only limited Government intervention, it was now evident that the Maoris could never form a Government to bring law, order and protection to the people of New Zealand.
For New Zealand to become a British Colony, Britain had to obtain the Maori's consent to Sovereignty over the whole land without force.

For two years the Colonial Office debated the best way to become involved in New Zealand and it was decided, but with extreme reluctance, to send William Hobson to New Zealand to negotiate a cession of Sovereignty from the Maoris and to set up Government to bring law, order and protection and to investigate and settle land sales, titles and disputes.
Because of New Zealand's isolation from Britain (half a world away at the uttermost parts of the Earth), the extreme difficulties to shipping over such a vast distance, delays in communication, the ever-present volatile nature of intertribal fighting, lawlessness amongst an international mix of visitors and general unrest, Britain had only lukewarm, reluctant interest in establishing a colony. To get some appreciation of their attitude, see: The Treaty of Waitangi, by T. Lyndsay Buick, Thomas Avery & Son, 1933.

It was finally decided that the best way to accomplish this was by a treaty, if possible. To do this, first the British had to obtain Sovereignty over the whole land, second, all Maori and non-Maori land and property titles must be verified, third, any land the Maoris wanted to sell must be sold only to the Queen's representative, and fourth, the Maoris must be protected and guaranteed access to all the benefits of British civilisation and law if they consented to the first three conditions.


Queen Victoria sent William Hobson to New Zealand in 1840 to draft and sign a Treaty with the Aboriginal Natives of New Zealand to give, as requested by them on many occasions, a Government for law, order and mainly protection. Not only from a foreign invasion but also from themselves as somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 had already been killed in the intertribal wars.

The Treaty is a very simple document. It contains five parts, the preamble which is the main agreement setting out the reasons for the Treaty, three short articles giving Maori the same rights as the British subjects "inherited" when New Zealand became British soil and the chief's consent and understanding of the Treaty. Unfortunately, the preamble, article one and three are overlooked by today's negotiators and Government.

Below is a simplified summary of the Treaty which was signed on the 6th of February, 1840 at Waitangi by 46 chiefs, nine non-Maori and William Hobson.

The Preamble: The main agreement setting out the reason for a Treaty and to cede Maori sovereignty to Her Majesty.

Article 1: The Aborigines of New Zealand to give up forever, their governorship to Her Majesty.

Article 2: Consists of two parts.

· The Queen guarantees to the Maori chiefs and tribes and "all the people of New Zealand" the ownership of their taonga/ property and possessions at the time of signing. These rights were guaranteed for long-term residents and settlers alike.

· The Maoris must agree that the Queen or her representatives could purchase those pieces of land for a price, which the rightful owner agreed and was willing to sell.

Article 3: If the Maoris agreed to the preamble, article one and two, then the Queen would protect them and guarantee to them all the rights of a British subject. No more - no less.

The Consent: The consent from the chiefs that they fully understood the meaning of the words of the Treaty and consented to them all.

The Signing: The signing of the Maori version of the Treaty by 46 Chiefs, nine non-Maori and Governor Hobson at Waitangi on the 6th of February 1840 and visually witnessed by many hundred Maori, missionaries and settlers.

After each chief signed the Treaty, Hobson shook their hand and repeated, "He iwi tahi tatou - we are now one people", followed by three hearty cheers from the whole gathering and an agreement between two peoples was sealed forever.

The Treaty was an agreement between two peoples having the authority and agreeing between themselves to wide powers affecting them both. But after the Treaty was signed the Maoris had ceded/given up forever their Sovereignty/ authority/ partnership to the British in return for protection and one law for all people of New Zealand. From this point on all the people of New Zealand became one people under one law, one flag and with equal rights.

As Sir Apirana Ngata stated, "if you think these things are wrong, then blame your ancestors when they gave away their rights when they were strong".

Hobson claimed British Sovereignty on the 21st May, 1840 over the North Island by Treaty and over the South Island by discovery. The Proclamations were published in the London Gazette on October the 2nd 1840 and New Zealand became a Crown Colony.

As can be seen from this Treaty, time or condition does not alter it in any way. In "fact" it is a very simple document unless someone distorts its translation and interpretation as is happening today which we as New Zealanders must stop.

At the time of drafting the Treaty, large areas of land and forests, as well as 28 known on shore fisheries plus many general businesses were owned and operated by non-Maori, a very large British investment. This was the reason for Hobson changing the wording of Busby's draft in article two to include, "All the people of New Zealand", and not just the Maoris as we are led to believe today. It was also British policy that all British subjects and their property would be protected wherever they settled, a point that was voiced on many occasions. What this Treaty actually did was to advance New Zealand and its people by 1000 years to one of the most advanced societies in the world at the time. Unlike the way in-which all other indigenous people were treated, the British took the Maoris with them completely, with all the same rights as British subjects.


There is no evidence that William Hobson had any form of draft Treaty from the Colonial Office in England, only a 4200-word brief from the Colonial Office. He had been briefed very well by Lord Normanby in England and Governor Gipps in Australia to know what the British Government's Colonial Office required - a cession of Sovereignty, absolute control over all land matters and the authority to impose law, order equality and protection on both Maori and non-Maori. On his arrival in New Zealand and with the assistance of J. S. Freeman his secretary, he drafted some preliminary notes as a basis of the Treaty. Hobson then became ill and the notes were delivered to Busby, now the ex-Resident, to complete. Busby, who had no understanding of the large, detailed brief given to Hobson by the Colonial Office, considered Hobson's notes inadequate and drafted a Treaty himself. Although he omitted to include his own Preamble, he "fleshed out" three adequate articles, which were longer and more detailed than anything found in the rough notes given to him by Hobson.

Busby's draft of the 3rd of February 1840, instead of giving equal rights to both Maori and non-Maori, as the Colonial Office had requested, only gave a guarantee to the Maori people collectively and individually, of the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands, estates, fisheries and forests so long as they wished to retain them. It's Consent section rambled on interminably, as he tried to incorporate text found in Freeman's rough notes. In the final draft of the Treaty Busby's text was severely edited and changed or, in the case of the Consent section, almost fully eliminated. We now know this, as we can compare it to the "final draft" of the 4th of February. Busby's rough draft was delivered to Hobson on the 3rd of February 1840.

By the night of the 3rd of February, Hobson had asked for and was visited by a number of missionaries, which could have included- Henry Williams, Charles Baker, George Clarke, William Colenso and Richard Taylor, all of the Church Missionary Society and James Butler from the Wesleyan Mission Society. New Zealand's Chief Government Historian, Ian Wards, also mentions US Consul, James Reddy Clendon and a missionary named A Brown as individuals who helped and advised in the writing of the final English draft. From these meetings on the 3rd and 4th of February, Hobson held several sets of notes, including Busby's draft, which was the most complete to date, but still required considerable modification.

Advice on the final wording of the treaty was sought from Henry Williams, head of the Church Mission Society and a missionary in New Zealand since 1823… a man who had a great understanding of the Maoris and their language. It was important that there be no English words in the final draft for which there was no equivalent in the Maori language.

On the 4th of February 1840 the final draft was written, with Busby acting as secretary. In compliance with the detailed brief of the Colonial Office, Hobson changed the wording of Busby's draft of the previous day to guarantee "to all the people of New Zealand", not just the chiefs and their tribes, the possession of their lands dwellings and all their property. This was of extreme importance, as Hobson and his staff had sailed halfway around the world to secure rights for the family of Queen Victoria (Ngati Wikitoria) and to set up a British Colony. Busby admitted that changes were made to his draft of the 3rd and, although the final draft document of the 4th was lost for 150-years, it is now back in the collection of the New Zealand National Archives. It was found amongst private family papers in Pukekohe, Auckland district in early 1989 by the Littlewood family, having found its way into the care and keeping of their ancestor, Henry Littlewood, 1840's Solicitor. This document translates perfectly to the Maori text, has been positively identified as being in the handwriting of James Busby and is dated the 4th of February 1840. It is also the only single "complete draft" of the Treaty in existence, the other 12-pages of rough notes being only "work notes", with many confusing additions and deletions. To see all the "working notes" and the final, finished English draft CLICK HERE.

At 4pm on the 4th of February, Hobson gave Henry Williams the final draft of the Treaty to be translated into Maori by 10am the following morning. Unfortunately, this final draft was misplaced and, therefore, its loss from public scrutiny has allowed many people to translate the Maori version to their advantage.

Henry Williams and his son Edward translated the final draft from English into Maori, thus becoming the "Treaty" that was read, discussed and signed at Waitangi. As Hobson and Williams had discussed this final draft the night before, Williams would have had a full understanding of it and the vital importance of an accurate translation that could be understood by the chiefs.

At 9am on the 5th of February, while the chiefs started arriving at Waitangi, Hobson, Williams and Busby met behind locked doors to check and finalise the accuracy of the translation of the Treaty. At this last moment one word of the Maori text was substituted for another at the request of Busby. They made sure it was as true and accurate a translation of the final draft as was possible and that it relayed, accurately, the brief given to Hobson by the Colonial Office.

At midday the meeting got underway and both the final English draft of the 4th of February and the Maori translation of the treaty completed on the 5th were read out to the chiefs, their tribes-people and many of the settlers gathered at Waitangi. A discussion followed lasting almost five hours. After this meeting the chiefs assembled at the Te Tii Marae and discussed the Treaty for the rest of the day and most of the night. As Henry Williams, who was present at this hui, recollects: "We gave them but one version, explaining clause by clause, showing the advantages to them being taken under the fostering care of the British Government, by which act they would become one people with the British, in the suppression of wars, and of every lawless act; under one Sovereignty and one law, human and divine".

The meeting was to resume on the 7th of February to give the chiefs time to fully discuss and understand the Treaty, but they could not wait until the 7th. They had come to a decision that night that it should be concluded immediately, as they saw it to their advantage to do so. Hobson, to his great surprise, was summoned on the morning of the 6th and the signing commenced with the chiefs consenting that they fully understood the words of the Treaty and that they would become one people with one law under British Sovereignty.

The Maori version of the Treaty was signed at Waitangi on the 6th of February, 1840 by 43 chiefs, nine non-Maori and Hobson representing the Queen, plus many hundreds of Maoris and non-Maoris as eye witnesses. As each chief signed the Treaty, Hobson shook his hand and repeated, "He iwi tahi tatou - We are now one people", to which they all agreed and gave three hearty cheers.

Busby's final English draft, written on the 4th of February 1840.

Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of England in Her gracious consideration for the chiefs and people of New Zealand, and her desire to preserve to them their land and to maintain peace and order amongst them, has been pleased to appoint an officer to treat with them for the cession of the Sovreignty of their country and of the islands adjacent to the Queen. Seeing that many of Her Majesty’s subjects have already settled in the country and are constantly arriving; And that it is desirable for their protection as well as the protection of the natives to establish a government amongst them.

Her Majesty has accordingly been pleased to appoint me William Hobson a captain in the Royal Navy to be Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may now or hereafter be ceided to her Majesty and proposes to the chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the other chiefs to agree to the following articles.-

Article first

The chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes and the other chiefs who have not joined the confederation, cede to the Queen of England for ever the entire Sovreignty of their country.

Article second

The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs & tribes and to all the people of New Zealand the possession of their lands, dwellings and all their property. But the chiefs of the Confederation and the other chiefs grant to the chiefs Queen, the exclusive right of purchasing such land as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to sell at such prices as shall be agreed upon between them and the persons appointed by the Queen to purchase from them.

Article Third

In return for the cession of the Sovreignty to the Queen, the people of New Zealand shall be protected by the Queen of England and the rights and privileges of British subjects will be granted to them.-

William Hobson
Consul & Lieut. Governor.

Now we the chiefs of the Confederation of the United tribes of New Zealand being assembled at Waitangi, and we the other chiefs of New Zealand having understood the meaning of these articles, accept of them and agree to them all.
In witness whereof our names or marks are affixed. Done at Waitangi on the
4th Feb. 1840.-

* We know that at least four of these exact-wording renditions of the final English draft of the Treaty existed in February-April, 1840. US Consul, James Reddy Clendon, who, according to former Chief Government Historian, Ian Wards, had participated in the final drafting process on the 4th of February, 1840 despatched a copy of this text to the Secretary of State in Washington D.C. on the 20th of February, 1840 [Despatch No. 6]. Yet another copy of this final, 4th of February 1840 draft by Busby was despatched by Antarctic explorer, Commodore Charles Wilkes on the 5th of April 1840 (his despatch number 64). Wilkes wrote out yet another copy into the U.S.S. Vincennes' letter book, now found in the collection of the Kansas Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas. The Littlewood Treaty document, found in 1989 is a fourth one. It is also the original, final English draft by James Busby.

Rev. Henry Williams' translation into Maori from Busby's final draft.

Ko Wikitoria te Kuini o Ingarani i tana mahara atawai ki nga Rangatira me nga Hapu o Nu Tirani i tana hiahia hoki kia tohungia ki a ratou o ratou rangatiratanga me to ratou wenua, a kia mau tonu hoki te Rongo ki a ratou me te Atanoho hoki kua wakaaro ia he mea tika kia tukua mai tetahi Rangatira-hei kai wakarite ki nga Tangata Maori; o Nu Tirani-kia wakaaetia e nga Rangatira Maori; te Kawanatanga o te Kuini ki nga wahikatoa o te Wenua nei me nga Motu-na te mea hoki he tokomaha ke nga tangata o tona Iwi Kua noho ki tenei wenua, a e haere mai nei.

Na ko te Kuini e hiahia ana kia wakaritea te Kawanatanga kia kaua ai nga kino e puta mai ki te tangata Maori ki te Pakeha e noho ture kore ana.
Na, kua pai te Kuini kia tukua a hau a Wiremu Hopihona he Kapitana i te Roiara Nawi hei Kawana mo nga wahi katoa o Nu Tirani e tukua aianei, amoa atu ki te Kuini, e mea atu ana ia ki nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga o nga hapu o Nu Tirani me era Rangatira atu enei ture ka korerotia nei.

Ko nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa hoki ki hai i uru ki taua wakaminenga ka tuku rawa atu ki te Kuini o Ingarani ake tonu atu-te Kawanatanga katoa o ratou wenua.

Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangatira ki nga hapu-ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa. Otiia ko nga Rangatira o te wakaminenga me nga Rangatira katoa atu ka tuku ki te Kuini te hokonga o era wahi wenua e pai ai te tangata nona te Wenua-ki te ritenga o te utu e wakaritea ai e ratou ko te kai hoko e meatia nei e te Kuini hei kai hoko mona.

Hei wakaritenga mai hoki tenei mo te wakaaetanga ki te Kawanatanga o te Kuini-Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata Maori; katoa o Nu Tirani ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani.

[signed] William Hobson Consul &

Lieutenant Governor

Na ko matou ko nga Rangatira o te Wakaminenga o nga hapu o Nu Tirani ka huihui nei ki Waitangi ko matou hoki ko nga Rangatira o Nu Tirani ka kite nei i te ritenga o enei kupu, ka tangohia ka wakaaetia katoatia e matou, koia ka tohungia ai o matou ingoa o matou tohu.
Ka meatia tenei ki Waitangi i te ono o nga ra o Pepueri i te tau kotahi mano, e waru rau e wa te kau o to tatou Ariki.

T.E Young's back-translation of the Maori text into English (1800's).

Victoria, Queen of England, in her kind thoughtfulness to the Chiefs and Hapus of New Zealand, and her desire to preserve to them their chieftainship and their land, and that peace may always be kept with them and quietness, she has thought it a right thing that a Chief should be sent here as a negotiator with the Maoris of New Zealand - that the Maoris of New Zealand may consent to the Government of the Queen of all parts of this land and the islands, because there are many people of her tribe that have settled on this land and are coming hither.

Now the Queen is desirous to establish the Government, that evil may not come to the Maoris and the Europeans who are living without law.
Now the Queen has been pleased to send me, William Hobson, a Captain in the Royal Navy, to be Governor to all the places of New Zealand which may be given up now or hereafter to the Queen; an he give forth to the Chiefs of the Assembly of the Hapus of New Zealand and other Chiefs the laws spoken here.

The First
The Chiefs of the Assembly, and all Chiefs also who have not joined the Assembly, give up entirely to the Queen of England for ever all the Government of their lands.

The Second
The Queen of England arranges and agrees to give to the Chiefs, the Hapus and all the people of New Zealand*, the full chieftainship of their lands, their settlements and their property. But the Chiefs of the Assembly, and all the other Chiefs, gives to the Queen the purchase of those pieces of land which the proprietors may wish, for such payment as may be agreed upon by them and the purchaser who is appointed by the Queen to be her purchaser.

The Third
This is an arrangement for the consent to the Government of the Queen. The Queen of England will protect all the Maoris of New Zealand. All the rights will be given to them the same as her doings to the people of England.

William Hobson

Consul and Lieutenant Governor

Now, we the Chiefs of the Assembly of the Hapus of New Zealand, now assembled at Waitangi. We also, the Chiefs of New Zealand, see the meaning of these words: they are taken and consented to altogether by us. Therefore are affixed our names and marks.
This done at Waitangi, on the sixth day of February, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, of Our Lord.

*All back-translations of the Maori text will include the statement, "and all the people of New Zealand." This shows that from the very outset the Treaty was conceived to protect everyone's rights. This includes Maori chiefs, Maori families or tribespeople, British settlers or those of other nationalities already in the country... or coming to live in the future.

In the name of Her Majesty VICTORIA, Queen
Of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, By William Hobson, Esquire, a
Captain in the Royal Navy, Lieutenant-
Governor of New Zealand.
Whereas I have it in Command from
Her Majesty Queen VICTORIA, through Her
Principal Secretary of State of the Colonies, to
assert, on the grounds of Discovery, the Sovereign
Rights of Her Majesty over the Southern Islands
Of New-Zealand, commonly called, "The Middle
Island", and "Stewart's Island"; and, the Island,
commonly called, "The Northern Island",
having been ceded in Sovereignty to Her Majesty.
Now, therefore, I William Hobson,
Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, do hereby
Proclaim and Declare to all men, that from and
After the Date of these Presents, the full Sovereignty
Of the Islands of New Zealand, extending from
Thirty-four Degrees Thirty Minutes to Forty-seven
Degrees Ten Minutes South Latitude, and between
One Hundred and Sixty-six Degrees Five Minutes
to One Hundred and Seventy-nine Degrees of
East Longitude, vests in Her Majesty Queen
VICTORIA, Her Heirs and Successors for ever.
Given under my Hand at Government-House, RUSSELL, Bay of Islands, this
Twenty-first day of May, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and
WILLIAM HOBSON, Lieutenant-Governor.
By His Excellency's Command,
(Signed,) Willoughby Shortland, Colonial Secretary.
PAIHIA: Printed at the Press of the Church Missionary Society.


For the first ten years after the Treaty was signed, the Maoris prospered and there were very few disputes between the tribes or settlers, but as more settlers arrived, the demand for more land and the new way of life for the Maoris, requiring more money to support it, unrest developed. Disputes between the tribes as to ownership of land being sold to sustain this new way of life and the pressure from the settlers for more land caused major problems for the Governor and people alike. Many Maoris whose ancestors sold their land, regret it now and blame the non-Maori for their ancestor's actions.

In 1845 war broke out in the north when Hone Heke burnt the township of Kororareka. Chiefs Tamati Waka Néné, Patuone, Mohi Tawhia and Taonui Makoare contained Heke's rebellion until British forces could be mustered. Thereafter an alliance of British and Maori forces defeated Hone Heke.

After the Treaty, large areas of land transferred from Maori ownership to European ownership, although land purchased by devious means was, in most cases, returned to the Maori owners by the Governor and then in some cases repurchased. Many settlers who had purchased land from the Maoris legitimately before the Treaty, but could not prove their purchase, lost their complete purchase when it was investigated by the Governor. Even some of the Governors tried to do devious deals, like the second attempted purchase of the South Island in Australia, which failed. Most of the South Island had already been purchased before the Treaty was signed, but after it was signed the Governor rejected the sale.

The Maoris were also upset that land being purchased from them by the Governor was then sold to the settlers at a profit. What many did not understand was that this profit was being used to develop New Zealand. Many settlers, especially the New Zealand Company, were very upset that they had to pay more for the land than if they had bought it direct from the Maoris. This is why some devious settlers tried to talk the Maoris out of signing the Treaty and to stir up unrest amongst them after it was signed.

Now that the Treaty was signed, land had to be divided into legal ownership to be given titles. Whoever claimed the most land before titles were given would then own it legally after titles were given. This, plus land not owned by the seller, started the land wars of 1860 in Taranaki. A dispute arose between the Maoris who sold the land and the "rightful owners". This land was returned to the "rightful owners" then repurchased at a higher price. It was again disputed and the Imperial Troops were brought in to gain peace and to enforce British Sovereignty/law/order over this small minority of Maori "rebels".
At the time the "King Movement" was gaining strength. The King Movement was a rebellious group of Waikato Maoris who had signed the Treaty but were opposing British sovereignty by helping the Taranaki Maoris in their war as well as causing unrest and trouble in the development of New Zealand.

Even though they had signed the Treaty they decided to keep their Sovereignty, which through weak Governments, is still in existence today. They are using the Waitangi Tribunal to lodge claims against the Crown/people which have in many cases, like many others, including the Nga Tahu, have had full and final settlements already honoured by the people of New Zealand since 1946 and earlier.

The majority of the tribes and their people accepted British Sovereignty and Government and prospered. It was only a small group, mainly in the centre of the North Island and led by individuals, who caused the trouble. Many Maoris fought alongside the Imperial troops to bring law and order to New Zealand. Only a small percentage of the tribes were involved in the land/Sovereignty wars. Most welcomed and encouraged the Europeans to settle in their area for the protection, trade and prosperity they brought.


For nearly twenty years the Imperial troops fought the "rebel" Maoris at Taranaki, Waikato and Tauranga (Gate Pa). At times the Imperial Troops consisted of more than 14000 men under the command of the Governor. At this time large areas of land in Taranaki, Waikato and Tauranga were confiscated as payment for these wars, although most of the Tauranga land was returned with a large cash payment of two thousand five hundred pounds for the Maoris to re-establish themselves. Many innocent settlers lost their land and/or their lives by the "rebels" during these wars.

Although these wars of the 60's were called "Land Wars" they were really "Sovereignty Wars". The wars were fought to enforce British Sovereignty over New Zealand so that Britain could form a united Government to bring law, order and protection to all the people of New Zealand, as the Treaty promised. The confiscations were a result of these wars and not a means by which to gain land. The war cost 400,000 pounds in 1861, far more than if the land had been bought in peaceful times.

In most cases the Maoris accepted these confiscations at the time. They fought and unfortunately lost and therefore had to pay the price. This in itself, is Maori Custom. The Imperial Troops at no time fought to destroy the Maori; they fought only to bring law and order to a small minority of rebels. The majority of Maori were very good law abiding citizens. It was only a few, as it is today, who were making it difficult for the majority.

As the Kingites in the north, a group of rebels in the south, the Hauhaus had formed their own religious war party determined to drive the Europeans back into the sea by working themselves and their followers into a frenzy before attacking and killing remote settlers, their families and stock around Wellington province and Hawkes Bay.

On the 23rd of April 1851, Auckland with a population of 4500 was threatened by an attack by a group of Maori from the Ngaiti paoa tribe south of Auckland who had some of their people imprisoned. They assembled five war canoes, plus several smaller canoes and set off from Waiheke to attack the people of Auckland as Heke had done six years earlier at Russell. Governor Grey quickly assembled the 58th Regiment and greeted the Maoris when they landed at Mechanics Bay. He also had the HMS Fly sail in behind the canoes, Grey then approached the Chief and told him that if he did not go back to his village, the war ship would make short work of his canoes and the troops would open fire. The Maoris had no alternative but to heed Grey's ultimatum and paddle away. Later they apologised to Grey and, as a token of respect, laid five greenstone mere's at his feet.


These incidents marked the turning point from tribal control/ lore in New Zealand to full British control/law that the Maoris had asked for on many occasions and agreed to in the Treaty of Waitangi. The British had not wanted to get involved in tribal warfare and had hoped it would sort itself out but with a rebel threat to Auckland, defiance to law, order and the British Sovereignty by the King Movement, the killing of settlers by the Hauhaus, and intertribal fighting, there was no alternative. A stand for British Sovereignty, law and order had to be made by the Governor with his Imperial Troops.

It must be remembered that the Maoris had been at war between themselves for hundreds of years for survival as well as to show their mana and strength. It was their way of life. To expect them to stop this tribal warfare overnight, especially now they had muskets that could settle old scores, would be an impossibility and would take time. Only a strong Governor with a force would break this pattern and bring law, order and unity between the people of New Zealand. Most tribes were peaceful and law abiding and became very good citizens as soon as the Treaty was signed. Only a few did not honour the Treaty of Waitangi and resisted British Sovereignty. It was very unfair to the tribes that did honour the Treaty and helped develop New Zealand, now to be forced by Government to pay compensation to those who did not. As the land was now governed under one law, the Imperial Government had to bring in the Imperial Troops to enforce law and order and to stop the fighting between the tribes. It was also thought that if the Troops were not brought in to stop the tribal fighting the Maoris would soon destroy themselves. Many Maori joined the Imperial Troops and fought alongside them in the land/Sovereignty wars as they did not agree with the "rebels" actions. There were eighty times more Maori killed in the tribal wars than in the land/Sovereignty wars of the 60's and 70's. Chiefs like Hongi killed his own countrymen just for the sake of blood or to settle old scores, now that he had muskets. The Imperial Troops were used only to gain peace and to enforce British Sovereignty, not grab land as many historians and activists lead us to believe.

The wars were very costly and were not the direct fault of the Imperial or Colonial Government. The Governor had to confiscate land conquered from the tribes who started the wars to meet the costs and to show that there was now one law for all. Many innocent settlers and their families also lost land as well as their lives during these wars but their ancestors have never received compensation or a Government funded Tribunal to hear their grievances as have Maoris.

As Sir Apirana Ngata stated in his book, The treaty of Waitangi- An Explanation, "Some have said that these confiscations were wrong and that they contravene the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi, but the chiefs placed in the hands of the Queen of England, the Sovereignty and authority to make laws. Some sections of the Maori people violated that authority, war arose and blood was spilled. The law came into operation and the land was taken as payment. This in itself is Maori custom-revenge-plunder to avenge a wrong. It was their chiefs who ceded that right to the Queen. The confiscations can not therefore be objected to in the light of the Treaty".

Many of these confiscations, whether right or wrong have had full and final settlements reached with previous Governments and then honoured by the people of New Zealand for many, many years but are again before the Waitangi Tribunal to be re-negotiated. If anyone is to be responsible it should be the Imperial Government and not the Colonial Government as they had very little control over what happened in New Zealand at the time… a responsibility of Britain and not the people of New Zealand.

The Imperial Troops were always under the control of the Governor of the Imperial Government until 1870 when the troops were finally withdrawn. The Colonial Government had no control over the Imperial Troops who fought, conquered and confiscated the land which was then sold to the settlers by the Government. The Imperial Troops were used by Britain to enforce British Sovereignty over New Zealand, otherwise the British would have been defeated by, (quote) "a pack of uncivilised savages". In most conflicts with the Imperial Troops the Maoris were outnumbered 4 to 1 but with their modern fortified pas and their very clever and cunning methods of outsmarting the British they always seemed to escape with little loss of life. Until settlers assisted, the troops did not chase Maoris who retired to the King Country. The wars ended without a true victory to either side and, eventually, peace was achieved by this small group of Maori "rebels" accepting the advantages of British rule and Sovereignty. This was far better than being constantly at odds with the rest of the country, including their fellow countrymen.

After the withdrawal of the Imperial Troops in 1870, the Colonial Government formed a constabulary of many nationalities as well as many pro-Government Maori. These were used to keep law and order and to control the small "rebel" followers still causing trouble. In most cased the constabulary were commanded by ex-Imperial commanders, who had decided to stay in New Zealand. In 1872 the Maoris still owned about 75% of the North Island. Most of the land after this time was sold for a fair price by ancestors of present day Maori, who spent the money, leaving very little or nothing for their descendants. Over-all very little land was confiscated as most was returned or compensation paid.


From 1840 until 1852 New Zealand was controlled by the British Crown under a Governor. On the 30th June 1852 New Zealand's Crown Colony status ended with the passing of the British Parliament's Constitution Act granting limited self Government. This Act provided for a National General Assembly of an Elected House of Representatives, an appointed Legislative Council and the Governor who was to hold supreme authority.

The General Assembly met for the first time in Auckland on the 24th May 1854 and soon found that the real power still lay with the Crown Officials on the Executive Council, answerable only to the Governor.

Henry Sewell became the first Prime Minister on the 7th May 1856.

The official designation "Colonial" disappeared on the 25th November 1907 to be replaced by "Dominion of New Zealand". Governor became Governor General in 1917. Full and final autonomy and Sovereignty occurred on November 25th 1947 when New Zealand adopted the Statute of Westminster. Britain then enacted, at New Zealand's request, a Constitution Act authorising New Zealand to alter any of the 1852 Constitution Act provisions. Up until this time, the Colonial Governments were only "puppets on a string" to Britain. As Sovereignty over New Zealand was held by the British Crown until 1947, the Dominion Government could not make laws or pass Acts without their authority. Even today the Government can be overruled by the British Privy Council or expelled by the Governor General, the Queen's representative (Martin's note: The Privy Council has now been dumped, much against the wishes of most New Zealanders. Our new Supreme Court will be "The Waitangi Tribunal" in drag).


Today Governments conveniently hide behind "The Crown", when in need, not really knowing or admitting who or what it is. As it is no longer the British Crown, it can only be the people of New Zealand, the Government in perpetuity or the Queen. The question to be asked is, "should the Government in power at the time, sell or trade the Crowns/peoples assets or give large sums of money or buy assets for one group of citizens, in out of court settlements as it is doing, without first going to the people?"

The Waitangi Tribunal, funded by the Government, is controlled by the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act using the Five Principals, which in many cases do not relate to the Treaty's true intentions or spirit that, "we are one people". The Tribunal hears only claims by people of Maori descent and is funded by the taxpayer with grants to the claimants to research and lodge their claims, also funded by the taxpayer. Non-Maori are not allowed to lodge claims, or in many cases, participate in the hearings, which are usually heard on the marae. This Tribunal contravenes section 19 (1&2) of the Bill of Rights Act, as well as article three of the Treaty and therefore must be abolished. How can we be expected to honour one part of the Treaty if another part is being broken with the Government's blessing? (funding).

Letter from 13 Chiefs to King William

The British Resident

The Declaration of Independence of New Zealand

William Hobson, the crowns Treaty representative

The making of the Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi wording


After the Treaty

Land Confiscations

Tribal Lore to British Law

Limited self Government

The Crown