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New Zealand History/The Treaty of Waitangi

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The Treaty of WaitangiEdit

The Treaty of Waitangi was an agreement between the British and about 540 Maori chiefs, in which the Maori people gave their sovereignty to the British Crown. Today, it is seen as the founding document of New Zealand.


An Overview of the TreatyEdit


Prior to 1840, the British Government was at first uninterested in annexing the country, but with New Zealand settlers becoming lawless and reports of the French planning to take control of the country, the British finally decided to act. Once the treaty had been authorised by British authorities, the English draft of the treaty was translated overnight by the missionary Henry Williams and his son, Edward, into Maori on the 4th of February 1840.

The treaty was then debated by about 500 Maori over the course of a day and a night, with Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson, who had been appointed the task of securing British control over New Zealand, stressing the benefits to the Maoris of British sovereignty. Once the chiefs were reassured that their status and authority would be strengthened, about 40 chiefs signed the treaty at Waitangi on the 6th of February 1840. After this, the document was taken all over the country, and about 500 more chiefs signed.


The English Version and the Maori Version are as follows:


The English Version of the TreatyEdit


The original English version of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The actual draft for translation into Maori and dated 4th February 1840 was as follows: Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of England in Her gracious consideration of the chiefs and the people of New Zealand, and Her desire to preserve to them their lands and to maintain peace and order amongst them, has been pleased to appoint an officer to treat with them for the cession of the Sovereignty 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 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 Mr. William Hobson, a captain in the Royal Navy to be Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may now or hereafter be ceded to Her Majesty and proposes to the chiefs of the Confederation of 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 Sovereignty of their country. Article second The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs and the 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 of United Tribes and the other chiefs grant to the Queen, the exclusive rights of purchasing such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to sell at such prices as may be agreed upon between them and the person appointed by the Queen to purchase from them. Article third In return for the cession of their Sovereignty 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. Signed, William Hobson Consul and Lieut. Governor. Now we the chiefs of the Confederation of United Tribes of New Zealand assembled at Waitangi, and we the other tribes of New Zealand, having understood the meaning of these articles, accept them and agree to them all. In witness whereof our names or marks are affixed. Done at Waitangi on the 6th of February, 1840.

The Maori Version of the TreatyEdit


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 amua 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 te tuatahi 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 o ratou wenua.

Ko te tuarua Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangitira ki nga hapu – ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o 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.

Ko te tuatoro 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.

-William Hobson, Consul and 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.


A Literal Translation of the Maori TextEdit


Here's Victoria, Queen of England, in her gracious remembrance towards the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand, and in her desire that the chieftainships and their lands should be secured to them and that obedience also should be held by them, and the peaceful state also; has considered it as a just thing, to send here some chief to be a person to arrange with the native men of New Zealand, that the Governorship of the Queen may be assented to by the native chiefs in all places of the land, and of the islands. Because too many together are the men of her tribe who have sat down in this land and are coming hither.

Now it is the Queen who desires that the Governorship may be arranged that evils may not come to the native men, to the white who dwells lawless. There! Now the Queen has been good that I should be sent, William Hobson, a captain of the Royal Navy, a Governor for all the places in New Zealand that are yielded now or hereafter to the Queen. She says to the Chiefs of the Assemblage (Confederation) of the tribes of New Zealand, and other chiefs besides, these laws which shall be spoken now.

Here's the first: Here's the chief of the Assemblage, and all the chiefs also who have not joined the Assemblage mentioned, cede to the utmost to the Queen of England for ever continually to the utmost the whole Governorship of their lands.

Here's the second: Here's the Queen of England arranges and confirms to the chiefs, to all the men of New Zealand the entire chieftainship of their lands, their villages, and all their property.

But here's the chiefs of the Assemblage, and all the chiefs besides, yield to the Queen the buying of those places of land where the man whose land it is shall be good to the arrangement of the payment which the buyer shall arrange to them, who is told by the Queen to buy for her.

Here's the third: This, too, is an arrangement in return for the assent of the Governorship of the Queen. The Queen of England will protect all the native men of New Zealand. She yields to them all the rights, one and the same as her doings to the men of England.

-William Hobson, Consul and Lieutenant-Governor.

Now here's we: Here's the chiefs of the Assemblage of the tribes of New Zealand who are congregated at Waitangi. Here's we too. Here's the chiefs of New Zealand, who see the meaning of these words, we accept, we entirely agree to all. Truly we do mark our names and marks.

This is done at Waitangi on the six of the days of February, in the year one thousand eight hundred and four tens of our Lord.


A Comparison of the English and Maori VersionsEdit


The final draft of the treaty was done by William Hobson and James Busby Although the English and Maori versions of the treaty are mostly the same, there are some subtle differences.

In the First Article, the English Version stated that the chiefs should give all rights and powers of sovereignty to the Queen. In the Maori Version it states that Maori give up government to the Queen. There is no direct translation for sovereignty in Maori, because the Maoris had individual tribes instead of an overall ruler.

In the Second Article, the English Version stated that the Crown had the sole right of purchase to Maori land. It is not certain if the Maori Version conveyed this message properly.


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