Treaty of Waitangi

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Topics: New Zealand
The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti O Waitangi)

The Treaty of Waitangi (Māori: Te Tiriti o Waitangi) was a treaty signed by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs of the North Island of New Zealand. Te Tiriti O Waitangi was first signed on the 6th of February 1840. The treaty’s regulations had

• Inaugurated a British Governor of New Zealand (the throne’s representative in a commonwealth country)
• Let other people live in New Zealand (such as Dutch, Europeans, Asians etc.)
• Let the British make the rules and that everyone who is in the country must obey them
• Recognised Māori ownership of their native land, territories, fisheries and all other properties as well as giving them exclusive access to these areas

The treaty was written in both English and Māori, but both versions differ significantly, so there is no consensus as to the exact terms & conditions of the treaty. The reason why this havoc was created was, because Captain William Hobson, who had brought written instructions from the Colonial Secretary, Lord Normanby to James Busby, the British resident residing in New Zealand. Busby then transported the instructions to Hobson’s secretary James Freeman, who did the actual drafting from those instructions. The draft which was written by Freeman, was now given to Reverend Henry Williams, a Christian British missionary who had lived in New Zealand for more than 20 years, and his son Edward Williams, who then translated the English draft into Māori. After the draft had been translated into an actual document in Māori, the English version of the draft had disappeared.

The Williams translation, which is now what is known as Te Tiriti O Waitangi, was the document that was agreed to the 6th of February 1840 and thereafter. A subsequent version, which was now the English language version of the document, was written in March 1840, which is why there are many differences from the two.

From the Commonwealth

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