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14. Te Tiriti o Waitangi - The Treaty of Waitangi

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The Treaty of Waitangi has shaped the course of Aotearoa. British officials and more than 40 Māori chiefs signed this Treaty in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840. Copies were then sent around the country and signed by approximately 500 rangatira or chiefs. The Treaty made New Zealand a British colony and Māori British subjects.

But Māori and Europeans had different understandings and expectations of the Treaty – particularly in relation to land. Some rangatira believed the Treaty would allow them greater access to trade or help to limit intertribal fighting. Many did not sign, fearing they would lose their independence and power.

In the 1840s battles broke out between Māori and Pākehā over land ownership. The conflicts intensified in the 1860s and became known as the New Zealand Wars. Over the years, in a process of colonisation, laws were passed which put Māori at a disadvantage or caused the loss of land, resources, language, practices, and customs.

Māori have been fighting for self-determination ever since signing the Treaty and in the mid-1970s began once again to seek the return of land, compensation, and an apology for breaches of te Tiriti. The government set up the Waitangi Tribunal to investigate these breaches, and in 1985 began hearing claims dating back to 1840. Watch a few of the short videos to see how the Treaty of Waitangi has affected Auckland iwi Ngāti Whātua and Ngāti Paoa.

Next is the kumete at stop 16. Walk up two sets of stairs to the case with the large bowl in it on your right.

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