Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Happy Waitangi Day

The National Archives blog is commemorating New Zealand's Waitangi Day Its post contains a copy of the Treaty itself, but focusses more on generic links to Colonial Office materials.

The writer has deliberately avoided discussing the treaty, the original of which is held at the National Archives of New Zealand in Wellington. I was privileged to be able to see the original document there in November 2012, as I was one of a motley crew giving family history talks at the facility and was kindly given permission to see it.

For those not in the know (as I wasn't, 2 years ago), the 1840 treaty is the basis on which New Zealand's Maori communities came to an arrangement with the British Government that led towards the creation of New Zealand as a unified state, and at the time made the country part of the British Empire. The problem is that both sides had slightly different interpretations as to what was actually agreed. The British saw it as the handing over of sovereignty of New Zealand, the Maori didn't see it as going quite that far, but more as a treaty of protection. Its impact is still felt to this day with a Waitangi Tribunal set up in 1975 to redress accusations of land grabs and all sorts. There's more at

Either way, it is New Zealand's national day - so have a good 'un!

In commemoration, here's a wee bit of Maori Haka from my trip...!


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