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The Treaty's travels through Auckland

The Treaty's travels through Auckland

by Andrea Stevens and Kirsten MacFarlane
Thu, 5 Feb 2015

The name Treaty of Waitangi suggests that everything happened up north in the Bay of Islands. But there is a rich history of the Treaty in many parts of Aotearoa New Zealand - including right here in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and on both sides of the city's two harbours. A new display at the Museum explores the many places where te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed around Auckland.

Manukau Heads from the back of pā at Pukaki.

c.1850. Pen and wash on paper Johnson, John Grant, 1824-1873.Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PD19(12a).

Since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by Māori chiefs and Governor Hobson in a hastily-arranged ceremony in 1840 it has become the defining document in New Zealand history. There was more than one copy of the Treaty, and these other copies travelled around the country to give Māori in other parts of the country the opportunity to sign the agreement with the British Crown.

Hobson and James Busby had prepared the English version, and it was translated into Māori by the missionary Henry Williams and his son Edward. With the exception of a handful of signatories in Waikato, nearly all of the rangatira were presented with the Māori-language version of the Treaty. In Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, this version of the Treaty was signed four times in various locations.

On 4 March 1840, sixteen Māori chiefs signed the Treaty, which local iwi say happened at Karaka Bay in the Waitematā harbour. On 20 March, another three Māori signed, this time at Orua Bay in the Manukau Harbour. The Treaty was signed for the third time by seven Māori on 26 April, in a different part of the Manukau Harbour. Finally, another seven chiefs signed the Treaty on 9 July 1840, again at Karaka Bay near the Tāmaki River.

The paintings featured on this page are part of our documentary heritage display in Encounter Gallery with various images of places where the Treaty was signed around Auckland.

Read more about our Waitangi 175 programme

Jordan, W. (ca. 1840) Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by Māori chiefs at the entrance to the Tāmaki River, June 1840.

Presented by Captain D. Rough, first harbour master of Auckland in 1895.Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PD-1895-1.

Missionary station at Ourou in Manukao

Date unknown c.1840. Pen and wash on paper Johnson, John 1794-1848Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PD18(23)

Tamaki-Makau-Rau: map of the Tamaki isthmus with Māori place names.

Compiled by Kelly, Leslie George, 1906-1959 Reproduction map ; 66 x 58 cm. Published 1940. Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tāmaki Paenga Hira. G9083.A82

  • Post by: Andrea Stevens and Kirsten MacFarlane

    Andrea Stevens is a freelance features writer, author and editor. Her special interests are culture and heritage, architecture and design. She was co-author for the book Beyond the State: State Houses from Modest to Modern (Penguin, 2014). Kirsten MacFarlane is a part-time editor and writer for Auckland Museum. She also edits and writes feature articles for various publications.

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