Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi

What is the Treaty of Waitangi?

The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand. It is an agreement entered into by representatives of the Crown and of Māori iwi (tribes) and hapū (sub-tribes). It is named after the place in the Bay of Islands where the Treaty was first signed, on 6 February 1840. The Treaty was not drafted as a constitution or a statute. It was a broad statement of principles upon which the British officials and Māori chiefs made a political compact or covenant to found a nation state and build a government in New Zealand to deal with pressing new circumstances. Like many treaties, it is an exchange of promises between the parties to it.

What does the Treaty say?

The Treaty has three articles. In the English version, Māori cede the sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain; Māori give the Crown an exclusive right to buy lands they wish to sell and, in return, are guaranteed full rights of ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and other possessions; and Māori are given the rights and privileges of British subjects. The Treaty in Māori was deemed to convey the meaning of the English version, but there are important differences. Most significantly, in the Māori version the word ‘sovereignty’ was translated as ‘kawanatanga’ (governance). Some Māori believed that the governor would have authority over the settlers alone; others thought that were giving up the government over their lands but retaining the right to manage their own affairs. The English version guaranteed ‘undisturbed possession’ of all properties, but the Māori version guaranteed ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (full authority) over ‘taonga’ (treasures, which can be intangible). The precise nature of the exchange within the Treaty of Waitangi is a matter of debate.



Te Tiriti o Waitangi is not one but nine sheets, signed across New Zealand over a period of seven months.

In 1841, only a year after the Treaty was drawn up and signed, the documents were saved from a fire at the government offices in Official Bay, Auckland. Poor storage between 1877 and 1908 led to the Treaty being damaged by both water and rodents. However, facsimiles of the Treaty had been created in 1877, before the damage occurred, and images of all signatures have survived. After a series of different conservation treatments and different homes, the Treaty was finally brought to National Archives in 1989.

Treaty of Waitangi Principle

The New Zealand curriculum acknowledges the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand. All students have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.



Te Tiriti o Waitangi Graphic Novel

Thank you to School Journal Story Library for this resource.

NZ Curriculum Update Treaty of Waitangi Principle.pdf

New Zealand Curriculum Update

Treaty of Waitangi Principles

Ka Hikitia

What is Ka Hikitia?

Ka Hikitia is a multi agency framework that seeks to ensure a fair and equitable learning opportunities for all.

The framework has five outcome domains:

  • Te Whānau: Education provision responds to learners within the context of their whānau

  • Te Tangata: Māori are free from racism, discrimination and stigma in education

  • Te Kanorautanga: Māori are diverse and need to be understood in the context of their diverse aspirations and lived experiences

  • Te Tuakiritanga: Identity, language and culture matter for Māori learners

  • Te Rangatiratanga: Māori exercise their authority and agency in education.


What is the purpose of Ka Hikitia?


it means stepping up how the education system performs to ensure Maori students are enjoying and achieving education success.



How do you give mana to Te Tiriti o Waitangi?

This resource encourages schools to consider how they are honouring the Treaty of Waitangi. You can read the descriptors of practice to reflect on how well you are meeting your obligations as a Treaty partner and to decide where to next.

Resources to include the values of Te Tiriti into the classroom....



Want to learn more?

Ministry of Culture & Heritage: https://mch.govt.nz/treatyofwaitangi

Treaty Resource Centre: https://trc.org.nz/

What was lost article via STUFF: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104100739/treaty-of-waitangi-what-was-lost