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Treaty Times 30

Te Tiriti o Waitangi and The Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement between the chiefs of many of the Māori tribes of Aotearoa New Zealand and the British Crown. It was drafted in English by Captain William Hobson, Consul to New Zealand, within just a few days of his arrival in New Zealand in 1840. It was then translated overnight into te reo Māori by Henry Williams, a British missionary, and his son Edward. This translation, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is the treaty most Māori chiefs signed.

Williams’ choice of target terms for some of the significant concepts in the English version led to misunderstanding and resentment and those choices still have repercussions today. There are such significant differences in meaning between the English and Māori versions that it is now recognised that there are in fact two treaties.

You can learn more about the Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi at the following links:

The Waitangi Tribunal
A good overview of the different meanings in the two treaties
Treaty Resource Centre - He Puna Mātauranga o Te Tiriti
The foreword to Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based practice in health promotion gives a brief but thorough overview of the status of Te Tiriti


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