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Treaty Times 30

About The Treaty Times Thirty

The Treaty Times 30 project is an ambitious initiative by the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI) to translate New Zealand’s founding document, Te Tiriti of Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi, into 30 different languages.

The Treaty of Waitangi was itself translated from English into te reo Māori at the time of its signing in 1840. However, the two versions convey several significant differences in meaning and there are ongoing issues as a result of the differences between the two versions. These differences have been and still are fundamental to the conduct of society in New Zealand.

The birth of the Treaty Times Thirty Project

2016 marked the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters’ 30th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, over 100 translators, reviewers and organisers volunteered their time to create a book of translations of the two versions of the Treaty of Waitangi: the original English version and the official modern English translation of the original Māori version of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Translations were made into 30 of the languages spoken by the people of New Zealand. The book was published in print and as a PDF. A video of the Māori version in New Zealand Sign Language, an official language of New Zealand, was also made.

Why were the translations of the Māori version of the Treaty not made from the original 1840 document but from the official modern English translation of the original? It would have been wonderful to make the translations from the 1840 version in Māori but unfortunately there are very few translators who are qualified to translate from Māori into most languages.

There are also several other translations of the 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi into modern English, all with their particular expression of the meaning of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. These translations, including the official translation, are the subject of ongoing debate

Benefits of the publication of Treaty Times Thirty

  • The collection of translations is a lasting demonstration of best practice in the language industry.
  • The translations have been gifted to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and made available to everyone.
  • The translations help speakers of other languages to understand the Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi and the differences between the original 1840 versions in te reo Māori and in English.


The project received the support of major organisations such as Archives New Zealand, the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the European Union Delegation to New Zealand.


The Treaty Times Thirty project received several awards.


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