Waitangi is a township located in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand. It is located close to the town of Paihia (of which it is now considered a part), 60 kilometres north of Whangarei. The name means weeping waters in Māori.
Waitangi is best known for being the location where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840; however, it is also the place where the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand was signed five years prior, on October 28, 1835. This document was ratified by the British Crown the following year (1836).
The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) proper began on February 5, 1840 when a public meeting was held on the grounds in front of James Busby's residence. Lieutenant Governor Hobson read a proposed document to the 300 or so European and Maori who were in attendance and then provided the Maori chiefs an opportunity to speak. Initially, a large number of chiefs (including Te Kemara, Rewa, Moka 'Kainga-mataa' and others) spoke against accepting the Crown's proposition to rule over Aotearoa. However, later in the proceedings a few chiefs began to entertain this idea; amongst the more notable chiefs to support the Crown were Te Wharerahi, Pumuka, and the two Hokianga chiefs, Tamati Waka Nene and his brother Eruera Maihi Patuone). The proceedings were ended and were to recommence on February 7; however, a number of chiefs pressed to sign earlier. The Treaty of Waitangi was initially signed on February 6, 1840 in a marquee erected in the grounds of James Busby's house at Waitangi by representatives of the British Crown, the chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand, and other Māori tribal leaders, and subsequently by other Māori chiefs at other places in New Zealand. Not all of the chiefs chose to sign this document, with a number of chiefs either delaying or refusing to put pen to paper.
In 2007, Sydney-based Maori academic, Brent Kerehona (Ngapuhi/Whakatohea/Tuhoe/Whanau-a-Apanui), claimed that uncertainty has arisen over whether Ngapuhi chief Moka 'Kainga-mataa' actually signed; despite his name appearing on this document. A close inspection of the Treaty document itself shows no evidence of a signature or 'mark' next to Moka's name (which is written as 'Te Tohu o Moka'). Kerehona elaborates by inferring that it is clear by the accounts of Colenso (1890) that not only did Moka clearly express his concerns about the Treaty's effects whilst at the meeting on February 5, but that the discussion that he had with the Reverend Charles Baker combined with Moka's final comment should be taken into account.
The introduction of the Treaty effectively revoked the Declaration of Independence; making New Zealand a British colony, and the Treaty is generally considered the founding document of New Zealand as a nation. Waitangi Day is the annual celebration of the signing, and is New Zealand's national holiday.
In preparation for New Zealand Centenary in 1940 the Treaty house at Waitangi was restored in the 1930s, and the Meeting House Te Whare Runanga was built beside it, sparking the first emergence of the Treaty into Pākehā attention since the 19th century.
1 Colenso, W. (1890). The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington. p. 19.
Honouring our Waitangi legacy: commemorating Waitangi Day--February 6--is an opportunity for NZNO and its members to renew our commitment to working in accordance to treaty principles.(TREATY OF WAITANGI FOCUS)(New Zealand Nurses Organization)
Feb 01, 2006; Waitangi is a place that warms my heart and bones from the moment I arrive there until I Leave. The land and its people...