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Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed, on 6 February 1840. This day is now a public holiday in New Zealand. The Treaty is an agreement, in Māori and English that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs).

Here are details about Ministry resources about the Treaty of Waitangi.

To view the full text of the Treaty, visit Archives NZ and He Tohu websites.

Manatū Taonga - Ministry for Culture and Heritage resources

Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund

Each year, the Ministry offers the Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund which supports events that commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and promote nation and community building. The fund aims to encourage a wider mix of communities to take part in Waitangi Day events. Applications are generally called for during the middle of each year. Local government and community organisations can apply for grants, which in the past have ranged from $200 to $10,000, with the average being $3,000.

Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund

The Treaty of Waitangi on NZHistory

The Treaty of Waitangi section includes material originally published by the State Services Commission's Treaty Information Unit. Material from that website is now combined with other topics on NZHistory to provide a range of features about the Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Day.

NZHistory

Te Tiriti - The Treaty of Waitangi on Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara's section on the Treaty of Waitangi was written by eminent historian Dame Claudia Orange. It explains how people have come to know more about the treaty, and efforts to honour the treaty and its principles expanded.

Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Taiwhakaea Treaty Settlement Stories (Te Tai) 

The Ministry has embarked on a national project aimed at increasing awareness and deepening understanding of Treaty settlements and their impact. Te Taiwhakaea Treaty Settlement Stories (Te Tai) will be a rich and comprehensive source of new information and provide a platform for expressing the diverse range of these significant events.

Te Tai will connect the people of Aotearoa New Zealand with Treaty settlement stories. A wealth of information will be produced to share this history, including research articles, immersive web stories, full-feature documentaries, oral history interviews and a range of educational materials in both Māori and English.

Te Taiwhakaea: Treaty Settlement Stories (Te Tai)

Ngā Tohu – Treaty Signatories

In 1840 more than 500 rangatira (chiefs) signed the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, which was an agreement between Māori and the British Crown.

When complete, Ngā Tohu – Treaty Signatories will include biographical information on every signatory of the Treaty of Waitangi that can be identified. Some of those who signed are well-known, while about others we know almost nothing, other than that they signed the treaty.

We are keen to expand the information about signatories of Ngā Tohu over time. So if you have further information about any of the signatories, especially those about whom we have little information, please get in touch by either leaving a comment on a biography page, or by emailing webqueries@mch.govt.nz

Ngā tohu – Treaty signatories 

Where can I obtain booklets, CDs and posters about the Treaty?

A series of booklets about the Treaty and a children’s book, The tree house Treaty, were published by the State Services Commission, along with an educational CD-Rom and posters. Unfortunately these are now out of print and are no longer available.

Below are links to pdfs of the booklets, which you are free to use:

Other online resources and Treaty posters are listed on our website.

Related external resources

Treaty Times 30

Treaty Times 30 is an initiative by the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI) to translate New Zealand’s founding document into 30 different languages.

2016 marked the Society’s 30th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, over 100 translators, reviewers and organisers contributed their work to translate the English and the official modern English translation of Māori versions of the Treaty of Waitangi, showcasing best practice in the industry.

You can download a PDF copy of the NZSTI's Treaty Times 30 here.

He Tohu

He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of three constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand located at the National Library of New Zealand.  It features:

  • 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

Visit He Tohu's website for more details.

Archives New Zealand  – Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi

This section of the Archives New Zealand website allows you to view the nine Treaty sheets online and download high resolution images.

Archives New Zealand website

Te Papa - Waitangi Day resource

A free downloadable activity book to help kids understand the significance of Waitangi Day. Learn through maps, flags, word puzzles, drawing, and colouring in. Perfect for primary-aged children.

Download Te Papa's activity book here.


Updated on 15th February 2019