Signing of the Treaty
The initial signing at Waitangi
On 6 February 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands by Captain William Hobson, several English residents, and between 43 and 46 Māori rangatira.
Why did the British Crown want a Treaty?
The British Government was considering establishing a form of civil government in New Zealand because of the increasing number of British people who were coming to live in New Zealand. However, a plan for private settlement by the New Zealand Company forced the British Government to act. The government instructed Captain William Hobson to act for the British Crown in negotiating a treaty on the grounds that it was necessary to obtain Māori consent before establishing any form of government.
Signings throughout the country
After the signing at Waitangi, the Māori text of the Treaty was taken around Northland to obtain additional Māori signatures. Copies were also sent around the rest of the country for signing. By the end of that year, over 500 Māori had signed the Treaty. Of those 500, 13 were women. The English text was signed only at Waikato Heads and at Manukau by 39 rangatira.
The Waitangi Tribunal’s report, He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti
The origins of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the process by which it was signed at various locations throughout New Zealand, have been the source of considerable historical debate. The Waitangi Tribunal’s report from the Stage 1 Te Paparahi o Te Raki (Northland) inquiry provides a full account of the initial signings at Waitangi, Waimate, and Mangungu.
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