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: 29/10/20
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 Pākehā in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The history of the Treaty
A good starting point is to find out about the history and background of the Treaty. This will help you understand the significance of it, and why it is important to New Zealand.
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.
- From the homepage, go to Politics and Government
- Select the Treaty of Waitangi to read:
Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .govt or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.
The Treaty of Waitangi Collection (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 collection is divided into 3 parts — Foundations, Histories and Commentary.
- 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.
Archives New Zealand is a government website that protects and preserves official records from 19th century treaties to 21st century documents and data.
- Scroll down the page to the story about The Treaty of Waitangi.
- Each of the down arrows on the page opens up to the history of the Treaty of Waitangi, including the events around the signing of the sheets.
- Make sure to explore the Online resources at the end of the page that link up to useful websites that explain more about the Treaty.
Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!
Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of quality resources for students in a range of formats. These resources have been selected from reliable national and international sources.
Explore the links:
Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses that include .govt or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.
NZ On Screen is an online showcase of New Zealand television, film and music videos, and is especially useful for NZ history.
- Type in the search words ' Treaty of Waitangi' and select the link The Waitangi Collection.
- Watch What Really Happened - Waitangi, a 7 part series that covers the days leading up to the signing of the Treaty.
- Lost in Translation is another series based on the journey of the 9 sheets and its signatories.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.
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 information 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.
- Go to Politics and Government, to find the link on the Treaty of Waitangi.
- Next select Waitangi Day.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds host celebrations on Waitangi Day and through out the year.
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.
Christchurch City Libraries has lots of useful pages on New Zealand topics such as Waitangi Day celebrations.
- Go to the box called Search the and select website from the drop box.
- Type 'Waitangi Day' into the search box to find the link called Waitangi Day.
- Read the link about the 1976 Waitangi Day Actand resources on how to celebrate this day.
Tips: We like articles from Christchurch City Library because they are 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.
Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. 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.
- Scroll down to Sections and choose Government and Nation.
- Select Te Tiriti - The Treaty from the list. Besides the history of the Treaty, this page has information on where the Treaty stands today.
- Choose Ngā whakataunga Tiriti – Treaty of Waitangi settlement process - find out about the process to fix the injustice caused by governments breaking the Treaty.
- You can also choose the story Waitangi Tribunal - Te Rōpū Whakamana to learn about the Waitangi Tribunal.
Te Ara also has information about the foreshore and seabed debate and how it relates to the treaty of Waitangi.
- Search the website using the keywords 'foreshore and seabed'.
- Find the full story, Law of the foreshore and seabed.
Tips: Te Ara is a reliable and trustworthy government website about New Zealand history, people, environment and culture.
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.
- The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi has the te reo Māori version and English version for comparison, including how the Waitangi Tribunal interpreted the meaning of the Treaty.
- Claims process is about the process for submitting a claim, which includes registering and applying for funding.
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.
Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz, .uk or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand. You can check the ‘About Us’ link on the website for more information.
He Tohu meaning ‘the signs’ is a permanent exhibition at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington, of three iconic documents, one of which is the Treaty of Waitangi.
- Explore the information and videos about 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi - Treaty of Waitangi from this link from the exhibition.
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 Philippa 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: the challenge of the Treaty of Waitangi by Robert Consedine and Joanna Consedine.
SCIS no: 1832258