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The Treaty of Waitangi

05 Feb 2019
By Rhys Lawrence
Waitangi Signing Marcus King 1891 1983

Te Tiriti Ō Waitangi,
The Treaty of Waitangi

Waitangi Day marks the signing of one of Aotearoa / New Zealand's founding documents on the 6th February 1840 between the British Crown and Māori. 

Waitangi Signing Marcus King 1891 1983

Named after the place where it was first signed in the Bay of Islands, on the 6th February 1840. Te Tiriti (The Treaty) was signed between representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori Rangatira (chiefs/leaders) from across the country.

It guaranteed Māori tino rangatiratanga (independence / chieftainship) over their lands & estates, forests, fisheries & other treasured assets. As well as equal rights to all.

Since the signing of the treaty, successive governments took actions resulting in the loss of Māori land and language, and the decline of Māori economic, social & cultural wellbeing.

In the 1960s & 1970s, the Māori renaissance saw a public push for greater recognition of Māori rights under the treaty.

As a result, in 1975 the Waitangi tribunal was established to hear claims of breaches of the treaty.

Since then, treaty settlements with the New Zealand government have gone some way to make economic, social & cultural recompense back to Iwi (tribes).

In 2019, Waitangi day means many things to many people.

Now, on the 6th of February, kiwis everywhere have a day to reflect on our country’s history, celebrate Māori performing arts, entertainment, culture & language, and to spend time with family & friends.