Treaty of Waitangi
Where can I find information about the Treaty of Waitangi - Te Tiriti o Waitangi?
Image: Reconstruction of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Marcus King, by Archives New Zealand on flickr.
Entry last updated: 22/05/17
Te Tiriti o Waitangi, or the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed on 6 February 1840, and since that time it has been the basis for the relationship between Māori and Pakeha in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The history of the Treaty
It's a good starting point to find out about the history and background of the Treaty. This will help you understand the significance of it and how important it is to New Zealand.
This is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. To find information about the Treaty:
- scroll down to the Sections area and choose Government and Nation
- now click on Te Tiriti – the Treaty.
There is info here about:
- what was going on in New Zealand before Te Tiriti o Waitangi - the Treaty of Waitangi (see the page about The Declaration of Independence)
- what the Treaty Principles are (have a look at the page called Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi – ngā mātāpono o te Tiriti) and
- a page on the Treaty itself, including how it was created, different interpretations of the Treaty, and what has happened from the time it was signed till recent times.
Tips: We like Te Ara because it comes from a government organisation. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable
This is a great website for information about history in New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
Here's how you can find great information about history of the Treaty and people who were involved:
- from the homepage, click on Politics and Government
- then click on the Treaty of Waitangi.
Here you can get an overview of the Treaty, read the Treaty itself in English and te reo Māori, read biographies of people who were involved, see a map of locations around the country where the Treaty was signed, and learn about Waitangi Day celebrations.
Tips: We like NZHistory because it comes from a government organisation. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable
This is an entertaining documentary drama about a time travelling reporter who goes back in time to witness the events leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. You can watch it On Demand (through the link above) or in seven parts on YouTube.
The Bridget Williams Books (BWB) is a collection of digitised books on the Treaty of Waitangi. BWB is a part of EPIC, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.
- The eBook An illustrated history of the Treaty of Waitangi by Claudia Orange is an excellent place to read about how the Treaty came about.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
Waitangi Day celebrations
Waitangi Day is celebrated on 6 February each year. This is a public holiday in New Zealand and often includes speeches, ceremonies and re-enactments.
There is great info about Waitangi Day celebrations on NZHistory and how celebrations have changed over the years. This website breaks it down decade by decade so you can see how it has evolved, and what it is like today. To find it from the homepage:
- Click on Politics and Government
- Then click on the Treaty of Waitangi
- Next click on Waitangi Day.
Every year, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds host celebrations on Waitangi Day. You can find them on their Events page. Have a look under the Education heading for resources about the Treaty of Waitangi.
Tips: Websites with .org in the address can have good information but you need to assess how reliable it is. Click on the About Us link. We like this website because it is supported by the Waitangi National Trust, and you can find out exactly who is part of this organisation and the values that underpin their work.
Tips: We like this site because it is researched and written by librarians, so the information will be reliable.
The Treaty today
There is ongoing discussion and debate about how the Treaty should affect New Zealand society, and how the principles can be upheld in law and government policy. One major concern has been Māori rights to land and natural resources, and how these rights have not been respected in the past.
- Scroll down to the Sections area and choose Government and Nation.
- Now click on Te Tiriti - The Treaty.
- Choose Ngā whakataunga Tiriti – Treaty of Waitangi settlement process - this is where you can find out about the process to fix the injustice caused by governments breaking the Treaty.
- You can also choose the story Waitangi Tripunal - Te Ropū Whakamana to learn about the Waitangi Tribunal.
Te Ara also has information about the foreshore and seabed debate. If you search the website using the keywords 'foreshore and seabed' you will find the full story, Law of the foreshore and seabed. Here you can find out more about the debate and how it is related to the Treaty of Waitangi.
This is the official website of the Waitangi Tribunal. There is lots of information here about how the Tribunal works and how it interacts with the Treaty of Waitangi.
There is an English translation of the te reo Māori version of the Treaty, so you can read how Māori would have understood the meaning of the Treaty that was signed, and see the differences between the original English version and the Māori version. Click on Treaty of Waitangi down the left side of the page to find this.
You can also use this website to find out about what a claim is, and how the tribunal goes about the claims process. Find this under Claims process down the left hand side of the page.
Tips: We like the Waitangi Tribunal website because it comes from a government organisation, so the information is well-researched and reliable. You can tell by the .govt in the web address, and also by scrolling down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry of Justice.
This is a good place to look for news and opinions about New Zealand topics in recent times. There are speeches, press releases from government departments, and statements from other organisations.
- Search for 'Treaty of Waitangi' - this will bring up lots of results!
- Use the options on the side to limit the results to a particular topic, like Energy and conservation or a particular source, like Government press releases.
He Tohu meaning ‘the signs’ is a permanent exhibition of three iconic documents that shaped New Zealand. It provides free public access to:
- 1835 He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni - Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand
- 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi - Treaty of Waitangi
- 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition - Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine
The exhibition has been created in partnership between Crown and Māori. Students visiting the exhibition can choose from three programmes designed for students from Year 5 to 10.
Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .govt or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from national or overseas government or educational organisations.
Check your local or school library for these books, and ask your librarian for more recommendations.
- Waitangi Day - The New Zealand Story: What It Is and Why It Matters by Phillipa Werry
- The Treaty of Waitangi by Kevin Boon
- The Treaty of Waitangi by Ross Calman
- Our Treaty: The Treaty of Waitangi 1840 to the Present by Ruth Naumann
- An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi by Claudia Orange
- The Story of a Treaty by Claudia Orange
- Healing our History by Robert & Joanna Consedine.