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10 Facts About Te Tiriti o Waitangi

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Come and explore the journey of the founding document of Aotearoa Te Tiriti o Waitangi

How much do you know about the founding document of Aotearoa, Te Tiriti o Waitangi? Check out the following 10 Te Tiriti o Waitangi facts.



Two key events were a major factor in recognising Māori as tangata whenua: in 1834 the selection of a national flag which allowed trading ships to enter Australia and in 1835 He Whakaputanga o Rangatira o Niu Tīrene – Declaration of Independence, which was signed by 13 northern rangatira.

Without this document I doubt whether Te Tiriti o Waitangi would have existed. It is my view that the British Government would have proclaimed sovereignty over all of New Zealand as they did with the South Island and Stewart Island.


Te Tiriti o Waitangi was drafted in less than a week. That’s right, one week.


Consider how long it takes a bill to go through parliament before it’s law! Talk about a fast turnaround. Wāwau ana – that’s cray cray.


There are two versions ‘The Treaty of Waitangi’ and ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’.

Both versions are not an exact translation of each other.


The Treaty of Waitangi was translated into te reo Māori overnight by Reverend Henry Williams and his son Edward.


Nine copies of Te Tiriti o Waitangi were taken around the motu to 50 signing meetings.

These were given to various officials and missionaries who travelled around the country.


Not all rangatira signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi or had the opportunity to sign, particularly rangatira in the South Island where Te Tiriti o Waitangi meetings were not held.


Hone Wiremu Hene Pokai – Hone Heke was the first to sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

He believed Rev. Williams that the authority of Māori rangatira would be protected. He was an influential voice in favour of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Four years after the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, disillusioned by the failure of what was promised, he ordered the cutting down of the flagpole at the British Residence of Kororāreka (Russell).


Ana Hamu was the first wāhine to sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi.


Joseph Thoms was the only European to sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi. He was married to Te Uatorikiriki of Ngāti Toa, the daughter of Nohorua (Rangatira and Tohunga of Ngāti Toa).

Nohorua insisted that Thoms sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi so that he would share the blame if his mokopuna lost their land.


Lieutenant Governor Hobson proclaimed British sovereignty over all of New Zealand, the North Island by way of cession through the Treaty of Waitangi, the South and Stewart Island by right of discovery.

This was ratified by the British Government in October 1840.


Web-Showcase-Project-PresentationCheck out our Te Tiriti o Waitangi akoranga.