The Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty Signed

The flagpole at Waitangi, which marks the spot where the Treaty was signed on 6 February 1840.

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840, between the British Crown and Māori. About forty chiefs signed at Waitangi. Copies of the Treaty document were thereafter taken around New Zealand for further Maori signatures.

About 500 Māori eventually signed various copies at various times. However, significant chiefs and groups of Maori chose not to sign, especially Te Whero Whero of Waikato, who would later become the first Māori King in 1858.

For Māori, the Treaty of Waitangi incorporated a number of undertakings that were not fulfilled by the Crown. For example, Maori people were not included when an early Executive Council to govern New Zealand was established by Governor Hobson. Māori perceived a gradual but definite imposition of British law and institutions at the expense of traditional Māori lore and sanctions.