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T he Treaty of Waitangi - the short version

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T he Treaty of Waitangi - the short version. Why did Maori sign the Treaty?. They wanted help to stop British people who were living in NZ causing trouble ( lawlessness ). Chiefs would still have control over their tribes. The Missionaries recommended it, for Maori’s own good.

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The Treaty of Waitangi

- the short version


Why did Maori sign the Treaty?

They wanted help to stop British people who were living in NZ causing trouble (lawlessness)

Chiefs would still have control over their tribes

The Missionaries recommended it, for Maori’s own good

It would preserve the trade between themselves and the British

The Treaty would bring permanent peace to the country

The British would protect them from France or other countries

Britain was a major world power, so having their protection be good for Maori

Maori wanted to stop bad land deals. Some had been cheated out of land by greedy British traders


Reason 1: British numbers in NZ increased

By 1840 there were about 2000 Europeans/Pakeha living in New Zealand. Most of them were BritishThere were no law courts or police to stop them committing crimes Even more British people were considering moving to New Zealand. They were asking for help to buy land


Reason 2: The missionaries asked for British help

The missionaries asked the British government to be more involved in New Zealand as they believed Maori would be better protected from lawless Pakeha and illegal land sales


Reason 3: The mana of chiefs

Because New Zealand was an independent country, the British could not just walk in and make demandsMaori chiefs controlled their tribal areas, so the British needed to make a treaty with them first


So what happened next?

Captain William Hobson was sent to NZ to make an agreement on behalf of Queen Victoria

Hobson, his secretary James Freeman & British Resident in NZ James Busby drafted a treaty

Missionary Henry Williams translated the treaty into Maori (he was not an expert)

On 5th February 1840 in front of the chiefs, Hobson reads the treaty in English

The meeting is adjourned for two days. Further discussion would take place then

A discussion of more than five hours occurred. Chiefs were divided in their opinions


Day 2 of the Treaty

6 February 1840

The treaty is read again by Williams, in Maori

Chiefs wanted to restart discussions as the food was running out. Some had even decided to go home

At midday Hobson declares that there will be no more discussion. He will only take signatures to the treaty

Missionary printer William Colenso asks if the chiefs actually understand what the treaty says. Hobson ignores him

Altogether 45 Maori leaders sign the treaty. Most do so with a mark. Gifts are given to each chief who signs – two blankets and tobacco



The Treaty on the Road

  • Many copies of the treaty are made and taken
  • around New Zealand for signing
  • Altogether almost 500 signatures are added
  • Some very important tribes refuse to sign e.g. Waikato
  • Tainui
  • Some areas do not get the chance to sign
  • e.g. much of the South Island
  • By the end of June, Hobson declares that NZ is
  • now part of the British Empire
  • By the end of October, this is made official

What were the main problems?

  • Henry Williams who translated the treaty
  • from English to Maori, was not an expert
  • in the Maori language
  • The Maori version is not an accurate
  • translation of the English version
  • Most Maori signed the Maori version,
  • meaning that should be the one accepted
  • Not all important chiefs signed the treaty – some simply refused to sign
  • Some chiefs were never even asked to sign
  • The treaty was taken around the country for chiefs to sign, but chiefs were sometimes persuaded by the advice given by missionaries who brought the treaty to them

What were the translation problems?

Article 1:

The English version gives the Queen of England

SOVEREIGNTY over New Zealand

The Maori version uses the word KAWANATANGA for

sovereignty. This means GOVERNORSHIP. The word used

should have been MANA or RANGATIRATANGA

Maori believed the treaty would help them to keep

their mana or control. The Queen would only govern

New Zealand not control

The British believed that they had achieved possession and control


What was the problem with

Article 2?

In the English version, Maori were guaranteed full possession of their lands, forests, fisheries and other properties

In the Maori version, the word TAONGA was used. This means all treasures which includes all things precious such as culture and language

Also, the British wanted Maori to sell their land only to the British crown. Maori believed that the British had only secured the first right of refusal on land Maori wished to sell. Maori did not have to sell to the crown, they could sell it to others after first offering it to the crown


And what about Article 3?

Both versions gave Maori the same rights and privileges of British citizens

However, Pakeha did not have to sell their land to the crown, but Maori did – therefore they were not being treated differently


Quotes by some at the Treaty signing

‘He iwikotahitatou. We are now one people’ (Hobson)

‘Only the shadow of the land passes to the Queen. The substance stays with us, the Maori people’

(Chief NoperaPanakareao)

‘You yourselves have often asked the King of England to

extend his protection unto you. Her Majesty now offers

you that protection in this Treaty’ (Hobson)

‘You must preserve our customs and

never permit our land to be taken

from us’

(TamatiWaka Nene of Ngapuhi)