26 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi

  • Waitangi, 26 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi. Te Whare Runanga. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Taken By: Shellie Evans. Date: 6/02/2019.
  • Waitangi, 26 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi. Interior of Te Whare Runanga.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 6/07/2015.
  • Waitangi, 26 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi. Whare Waka - Te Korowai o Maikuku.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Taken By: T Hoskin. Date: 27/02/2021.
  • Waitangi, 26 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi. Whare Waka - Te Korowai o Maikuku.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Taken By: T Hoskin. Date: 27/02/2021.
  • Waitangi, 26 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi. Treaty House. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Taken By: Shellie Evans. Date: 6/02/2019.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Wahi Tupuna/Tipuna National Historic Landmark Te Pitowhenua / Waitangi Treaty Grounds Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 9777 Date Entered 3rd September 2015 Date of Effect 28th September 2015


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 326610 (RT 108096), North Auckland Land District, including related features known as Ruarangi, the Whare Rūnanga, Te Korowai o Maikuku whare waka, the Treaty House, the flagstaff, and the treaty grounds that are interconnected.

City/District Council

Far North District


Northland Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 32610 (RT 108096), North Auckland Land District.

Location description

35°15’57 S, 174°04’56 E (WGS 84 datum)


Waitangi has strong traditional associations with many tupuna significant to Ngapuhi in Te Tai Tokerau, beginning with Maikuku and Hua Takaroa, whose marriage is integral to the tradition and whakapapa of the iwi today. Over time, successive layers of occupation connect and reconnect the descendants of Ngapuhi to this place, in particular the hapu of Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Kawa.

Ngati Rahiri came from Pouerua and were a part of the conquest of Te Waimate, later settling around Te Aute and Pakaraka with their main coastal settlement at Waitangi. The land at Waitangi now known as the Treaty Grounds was sold to the Church Missionary Society by Waraki, a chief of Ngati Rahiri, in 1815, after two of his relations, Te Pahi and Ruatara, had separately formed relationships with Samuel Marsden on their travels overseas.

Thirteen northern rangatira wrote to King William IV of Britain in 1831, resulting in the establishment of the first British Residence under James Busby at Waitangi. It was to become a tau rangatira (a place of political assembly) and attracted two particularly significant gatherings of tupuna to sign He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni (the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Many Ngapuhi chiefs signed these documents and they are important markers in the identity of Ngapuhi today.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi was seen by many in Te Ao Maori as a sacred covenant with the British Crown guaranteeing the rangatiratanga over the land declared in He Whakaputanga. The Crown’s later dishonouring of the Treaty has led to a legacy of petitions, protest, conflict and political unions at Waitangi, in Pewhairangi, and all throughout the country. In 1881, Ngapuhi hapu met at Waitangi to discuss the articles of Te Tiriti in light of their tribulations since 1840, and decided to petition their Treaty partner, the Queen of England. Upon the return of their unsuccessful deputation, they carved the Treaty in stone and erected it as a memorial at Te Tii marae.

Many other political figures have upheld the Treaty kaupapa in the twentieth century. It gained some stature in the national consciousness with its first official celebration in 1934 and at its centennial, held at Waitangi in 1940. The waka taua Ngatokimatawhaorua and the Whare Runanga with Kupe on the tekoteko, created for the centennial, connect the site to the tupuna Kupe, Ngapuhi and iwi from all around the country. The annual commemorations at Waitangi on 6 February continue to be a vehicle of political expression for Ngapuhi, Te Tai Tokerau iwi, and Te Ao Maori, and as in 1881, provide an opportunity to evaluate the Treaty relationship as a living kawenata (covenant) between peoples.

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Waitangi has strong traditional associations with many tupuna significant to Ngapuhi in Te Tai Tokerau, beginning with Maikuku and Hua Takaroa, whose marriage is integral to the tradition and whakapapa of the iwi today. Over time, successive layers of occupation connect and reconnect the descendants of Ngapuhi to this place, in particular the hapu of Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Kawa.

Rahiri is the founding ancestor of Ngapuhi and is descended from Kupe and Nukutawhiti through the whakapapa of both his mother and father. His granddaughter Maikuku, a puhi of high lineage, was sequestered in the cave of Ruarangi at Waitangi (List no.7692, a wahi tapu). Hua Takaro from Whangaroa stole past the taniwha nearby to meet the famed puhi and took her out of the cave to live at Waitangi, where they had their first child, Te Ra. These are the earliest recorded tupuna associated with Waitangi. The children of Maikuku and Hua Takaroa’s union provide genealogical links to all major hapu of Ngapuhi.

In the 18th century, the many hapu around Kaikohe expanded eastwards to Pewhairangi, merging with the people there through conquest and intermarriage. Te Whare Tapu o Ngapuhi stretched from Hokianga to Pewhairangi. Ngati Rahiri came from Pouerua and were a part of the conquest of Te Waimate, later settling around Te Aute and Pakaraka with their main coastal settlement at Waitangi. The land at Waitangi now known as the Treaty Grounds was sold to the Church Missionary Society by Waraki, a chief of Ngati Rahiri, in 1815, after two of his relations, Te Pahi and Ruatara, had separately formed relationships with Samuel Marsden on their travels overseas.

Thirteen northern rangatira wrote to King William IV of Britain in 1831, resulting in the establishment of the first British Residence under James Busby at Waitangi. It was to become a tau rangatira (a place of political assembly) and attracted two particularly significant gatherings of tupuna to sign He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni (the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Many Ngapuhi chiefs signed these documents and they are important markers in the identity of Ngapuhi today.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi was seen by many in Te Ao Maori as a sacred covenant with the British Crown guaranteeing the rangatiratanga over the land declared in He Whakaputanga. The Crown’s later dishonouring of the Treaty has led to a legacy of petitions, protest, conflict and political unions at Waitangi, in Pewhairangi, and all throughout the country. This began as early as 1844 with Hone Heke’s repeated protests and his sacking of Kororareka leading to war with the British army and its Ngapuhi supporters. It continued with the early Kotahitanga movement and the birth of the Kingitanga in the 1850s, and the many Land Wars and resistance movements of Te Whiti, Titokowaru and Te Kooti in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1881, Ngapuhi hapu met at Waitangi to discuss the articles of Te Tiriti in light of their tribulations since 1840, and decided to petition their Treaty partner, the Queen of England. Upon the return of their unsuccessful deputation, they carved the Treaty in stone and erected it as a memorial at Te Tii marae.

Many other political figures have upheld the Treaty kaupapa in the twentieth century. It gained some stature in the national consciousness with its first official celebration in 1934 and at its centennial, held at Waitangi in 1940. The waka taua Ngatokimatawhaorua and the Whare Runanga with Kupe on the tekoteko, created for the centennial, connect the site to the tupuna Kupe, Ngapuhi and iwi from all around the country. The annual commemorations at Waitangi on 6 February continue to be a vehicle of political expression for Ngapuhi, Te Tai Tokerau iwi, and Te Ao Maori, and as in 1881, provide an opportunity to evaluate the Treaty relationship as a living kawenata between peoples.


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Historical and associated iwi/hapu/whanau

Ngati Kawa Ngapuhi

Ngati Rahiri Ngapuhi


General Nature Of Wahi Tapu

Waitangi sits under the northeastern end of Te Whare Tapu o Ngapuhi, the sacred house of Ngapuhi stretching from Te-Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe harbour in the East to Pēwhairangi harbour in the West. It faces the two Eastern pou of the Whare Tapu, Tokerau and Rākaumangamanga, the maunga that guard the entrance of Pēwhairangi harbour.

Archaeological surveys indicate that Waitangi was once a part of a vast kauri and pohutukawa forest. There are early occupation sites in and around the Treaty grounds dating back to the middle of the 17th century. In the early 19th century, Waitangi was the site of Ngāti Rāhiri’s main coastal settlement used for principally for māhinga kai (food gathering).

An 1896 oil canvas by Mathew Clayton shows a landscape that is still recognisable today as the area around Te Ana o Maikuku (now known as Hobson’s Beach). In Clayton’s painting, the summit of the small rise fronting the beach shows a large open lawn. This parade ground is still centred on a flagstaff first erected by the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1934, situated approximately 100 metres inland from the beach. The 1834 British Residency, an Australian hardwood kitset erected for the kaiwhakarite James Busby which is now known as the Treaty House, lies on the rise at an opening in the trees another 30 metres inland. It looks out eastwards over the green expanse of the parade ground and the pohutukawa-lined shore to an impressive view of the bay and Kororāreka beyond. Hobson’s memorial, a 1940 stone block with plaques, sits in the middle of the road further inland. 70 metres northwest of the flagstaff stands Te Whare Rūnanga, a carved meeting house built in 1940 to commemorate the centennial of the signing of the Treaty, sheltered by a cluster of mature trees. Northwards of these trees, the rolling lawns resume to the fence line of the Waitangi Golf Course, the fairways of which make visible the archaeological remains of gardening activity.

Te Korowai a Maikuku wharewaka was erected in 1974, some 200 metres to the south of the flagstaff. It was made to house Ngatokimatawhaorua, the 35-metre long ceremonial waka taua constructed for the centennial of the Treaty, now launched annually on 6 February as part of Waitangi Day commemorations.

Historical Narrative

Kupe, Nukutawhiti and Rahiri

Rahiri is recognised as the eponymous ancestor of the iwi known today as Ngapuhi. Rahiri is a descendant of the explorer Kupe of the Matawhaourua and his grandson Nukutawhiti from parents, Tauramoko and Te Hauangiangi. Te Hauangiangi was the daughter of Puhi from the Mataatua. The late Rima Edwards explained that the hapu of Tai Tokerau ‘hold the Supreme authority of and in the land that was handed down to them from the beginning of time.’ Hone Sadler stated, ‘we say we cleave to this land, right from the beginning of the world itself. Why? Because of our whakapapa.’ The following whakapapa was given by Hone Sadler and is reproduced here to show the links from Kupe to Rahiri and from Rahiri to his many descendants unto this day.

The whakapapa of Rahiri on his father’s side:



Te Waroa





Te Hikuiti




When Kupe returned to Hawaiki to a similar desire to travel and explore touched his mokopuna Nukutawhiti. He asked Kupe to let him have the waka Matawhaourua which Nukutawhiti re-adzed so it would be lighter and more buoyant in the water, leading to the name Ngatokimatawhaorua (“toki” meaning adze). Nukutawhiti journeyed from afar whereby the sun hung at its zenith for three days. Hone Sadler states that this is the reason Rahiri gained his name, literally “the suspending of the sun”. Four taniwha accompanied him on his journey: Arai te Uru, Niniwa, Rangiuruhinga and Puhiteaewa. He also brought with him from Hawaiki the remains of the ancestor Wahieroa to make sacred the residence in Aotearoa. Kupe’s son Tuputupuwhenua was left in Hawaiki but Wahieroa was brought here.

Nukutawhiti preformed rituals to be able to live in harmony here. Of these rituals he cast Arai te Uru and Niniwa into stone to become guardians of the Hokianga harbour. He commanded Rangiuruhinga and Puhiteaewa to return to Hawaiki and carry two strands of seaweed to Kupe in remembrance of those living here.

Maikuku and Hua Takaro

From Rahiri’s first marriage to wife Ahuaiti of Nga-Pou-e-rua (also known as Pouerua) he had a son Uenuku Kuare. Uenuku married Kareariki. They had a daughter who was named to commemorate the fate of her great grandfather, Te Hakiro, who was drowned at sea off Whangarei. Te Hakiro’s people caught a giant snapper, which after pressure was applied to its stomach, vomited up a twisted human hand. This was identified as belonging to Te Hakiro because of the very distinctive fingernails. As a result Uenuku and Kareariki named two of their daughters Maikuku (fingernails) and Ruakiwhiria (vomited up twisted).

Maikuku was a puhi (virgin of high rank) whose tapu was so profound that she was confined in a cave along the shoreline at Waitangi called Ruarangi (wahi tapu, List no.7692) and guarded by a taniwha, some 20 kilometres to the northwest of her home at Pouerua. The entrance of the cave was filled in in the late nineteenth century by Waitangi kaumatua, to prevent desecration. It was said that the cave ran under the grounds to reach the vicinity of the flagstaff. There is a large, natural rock in the form of a seat, overlooking the shoreline and beach from the top of the Nias track called Te Turu o Maikuku. It is reputed to be the place where Maikuku sunned herself and gazed out over Pewhairangi.

Word of her beauty reached the ears of Hua Takaroa at Taratara pa in Whangaroa and he decided to travel to Waitangi to seek out this beautiful wahine and win her heart. Hua Takaroa followed the wailing of a taniwha to the cave where Maikuku lived. The couple emerged from the cave to live in a house on the whenua above. It was here that their first child Te Ra was born. The cave Ruarangi failed to protect her tapu as puhi and so Maikuku returned with her new family to be with her people at Pouerua. It is said that because of his failure to guard Maikuku, the taniwha wept, giving the Waitangi river its name. In due course it was here that her other children Rangiheketini, Kaiangaanga, Torongare, Ruangaio, Kao and Ruakino were born.

Maikuku and Hua’s children became the founding tupuna of various hapu of the Ngapuhi tribe, such as: Ngati Rangi, Te Uri o Hua, Ngati Kawa, Ngati Hine, Ngati Rahiri, Ngati Tautahi, Ngai Tawake, Ngati Rehia, and Ngati Hineira.

Conquest and Whakapapa in and around Waitangi

While still living at Pouerua, Hua gave his plume to his youngest daughter Ruakino. It is said that his chieftainship was to fall on Ruakino. Ruakino married Te Wiwini and had a son Taniwha (who was so named after Te Wiwini was killed by a taniwha). In time Taniwha took a wife Kuramaraewhiti and his subtribe was called Te Uri o Hua.

Te Ra, the firstborn of Hua and Maikuku, was the founding ancestor of Ngati Rahiri, the hapu of Pouerua and Waitangi. Te Ra was born at Waitangi above his mother’s cave and was later taken by his parents to Pouerua. After the departure of his parents and Uewhati he became the leading rangatira at Pouerua and held the mana of the land there.

Te Ra’s sister Rangiheketini was born at Pouerua and married her nephew Te Ao-Ngaua. Their son Tupuarangi founded the Ngati Rangi hapu. Hineira, the founding ancestor of Ngati Hineira was a descendant of Rangiheketini. The hapu Ngati Hineira, Ngati Hauata and Ngati Rangi are descendants of the tupuna Rangiheketini.

Torongare is the parent of Hineamaru, the founding tupuna of the Ngati Hine hapu. Ngati Hine rohe covers a vast area between the Bay of Islands and Whangarei. Ngati Hine have retained strong links to Waitangi: the timber which was used to build the Whare Runanga for the 1940 centennial of the Treaty was supplied by Ngati Hine from Motatau with the help and support of MP for Northern Maori the Honourable Taurekareka Henare.

The Conquest of Te Waimate around the early 1770s was an event of major significance in Ngapuhi history. Although it occurred in retaliation for the death of Whakarongo, it had wider repercussions, the first being the expansion of fertile land and freer access to fishing grounds at Matauri, Te Tii Mangonui and around Purerua Peninsula for the descendants of Rahiri; and the second being that it coincided with the formation of a northern alliance of Ngapuhi.

The northern alliance was comprised of the hapu of four adjacent areas all descended from Maikuku and her sister Ruakiwhiria and included Te Uri o Hua, Ngati Tautahi and Ngati Whakaeke of Kaikohe; Ngai Tawake, Ngati Tautahi and Ngati Rehia of Te Waimate, Kerikeri, Te Tii Mangonui and Takou; Te Hikutu and Ngati Rua of Rangihoua & Te Puna; and finally Ngati Rahiri of Pakaraka & Waitangi.

The leading rangatira at Pakaraka were Te Kemara and the brothers Mahikai and Marupo. The Pakaraka people fought under the leadership of Te Kemara and Marupo during the 1820s. The conquest itself pinpoints the occupation of these lands by Ngapuhi to around the 1770s but it also unravels the whakapapa connections between various hapu as descendants of Rahiri. The later conquest of the Taiamai consolidates the Ngapuhi occupation of the wider area of which Ngapuhi are still resident today.

The principle leaders of this conquest are Auha (Hongi Hika’s grandfather) and his brother Whakaaria, Whakarongo’s brothers, and their allies Kauteawha (Ngati Rahiri – a descendant of Te Ra relationship between the three chiefs and also the descendants which make up the various hapu). Between them the underlying whakapapa connections and marriage alliances may explain why the older story of Maikuku and Hua survive the conquest of the lands at Te Waimate, Taiamai and includes Pouerua and Waitangi where it appears no other korero survives from those who were conquered, Ngati Miru, nor any historical narratives about Waitangi specifically between the time of Maikuku and Hua and the later period of conquest.

The coming of the Pakeha

After the exploratory voyages of James Cook, Marion Du Fresne, and others in the 1770s, and the establishment of the British penal colony of New South Wales, naval and commercial vessels began to arrive in Pewhairangi with increasing frequency. Whalers and sealing gangs were the early arrivals, slowly supplanted in number by shore-whalers and timber, flax and general trading. The local hapu soon acquired the fruits of mutually beneficial trade, with rangatira Te Pahi trading food and flax to visiting ships in exchange for all manner of goods from Port Jackson, commencing the lasting Maori involvement in trans-Tasman trade. The voyages of Te Pahi and his enterprising relation Ruatara and the relationships they formed with Samuel Marsden were to be particularly influential in attracting the Church Missionary Society (CMS) to the Bay of Islands.

Ruatara enlisted himself as a sailor on a European whaling ship in 1805, with the aim of meeting with King George III. Although Ruatara made it to English shores and was unable to gain audience with the King, he met the missionary Samuel Marsden and formed a plan to introduce wheat production to his homeland, and spent eight months studying agricultural techniques in New South Wales. Te Pahi had met Marsden on his own visit there in 1805. It took Ruatara until 1812 to return home, by which time he was seen by Marsden and the governor of New South Wales as a crucial figure in the project to establish a CMS mission. Marsden cultivated his relationship with Ruatara with many gifts, and in return, Ruatara gave advice and protection to the first three CMS missionaries upon their arrival in 1814. Ruatara also accompanied the missionaries and his uncle, the influential rangatira Hongi Hika, to New South Wales in August 1814.

Ruatara died as the result of illness in February 1815, but it was his father-in-law Waraki who sold 50 acres of land to the missionaries William Hall and Thomas Kendall at Waitangi. The residence of Hall and his family at Waitangi was short-lived, as he was attacked, his wife badly injured, and his house was plundered by another faction of Ngapuhi after the death of his protector Waraki in 1816. Hall immediately returned to Oihi for safety, but continued to farm his land at Waitangi until his departure from the country in 1824.

In the meantime, in August 1820, Hongi Hika had travelled to London, and met with King George IV, who gave the rangatira many gifts, and according to Hone Heke’s later account, promised to send missionaries as settlers rather than the soldiers that Hika requested. This began the important relationship between the British Crown and Ngapuhi, as Erima Henare put it:

‘Ko te mea nui ko tana tutakitanga ki te Kingi o Ingarangi. He orite ki te orite, he mana ki mana, he rangatira ki te rangatira, he ariki ki te ariki.’

‘Ko te whainga a Hongi Hika he relationship ke, he whakahoatanga. He whakahoatanga orite.’

Translation: ‘Of great purport is his meeting with the King of England. Like with like, power with power, chief to chief, supreme authority to supreme authority.’

‘Hongi was seeking a relationship, a friendship. A relationship of equals.’

Petition to King William IV

Northern rangatira called on this relationship on the 4th October 1831, when with the assistance of the missionary William Yate, they sent a petition to King William IV. Thirteen chiefs of the Bay of Islands and Hokianga complained of the lawlessness of the King’s subjects and asking for the King’s to be their “friend” and “kaitiaki” against those who would take their land. Discussions initiated by the chiefs assembled at Kerikeri ultimately culminated in the response from King William IV which would play out at Waitangi a few years later and have far reaching effects. In Ngapuhi Speaks, the descendants of these tupuna stated that the chiefs in turn had expressed their rangatiratanga, advising King William IV of the need to discipline the “troublemakers” of His subjects whilst remaining a good friend to them and thus preserving their mana. The issue of jurisdiction over settlers was a murky one, as the Murders Abroad Act 1817 failed to make provision for British subjects to be tried in New South Wales for serious crimes committed in New Zealand. An Imperial Act 1823 gave the New South Wales legal system jurisdiction to prosecute, try and punish British subjects who had committed offences in New Zealand, but due to Britain’s lack of territorial jurisdiction, these measures were only effective if the perpetrators returned to British territory.

Another motivating factor for the northern rangatira came with the perceived threat of French conquest with the visit of a French vessel to Pewhairangi, La Favorite, in 1831. It had been preceded by a rumour that the French would return to seek utu for the death of Marion du Fresne, killed in 1772 by local Maori, or that they would seek conquest rather than the hitherto generally benevolent relationship the rangatira enjoyed with the British. As it turned out, the French vessel had no such designs, and its captain suspected the British missionaries of propagating the rumours in order to turn the Maori of Pewhairangi against them. The European man o’ war was recognised by Maori as a powerful military advantage, combining cannons with a large capacity for soldiers; and the French were not the only foreign power at the helm of such vessels. Te Rauparaha’s collaboration in 1830 with a British brig (the Elizabeth) and its crew in a Trojan ruse to exact utu on Ngai Tahu at Takapuneke was another reason to ask the British King to control his own subjects, lest they provide other Maori with the means to trouble Northern rangatira. The concern of these chiefs over that particular affair had already caused them to send a deputation to New South Wales to complain to the Governor. The British response to these approaches, including the 1831 petition, was to send out an envoy, James Busby, as a kaiwhakarite (intermediary) between the British and Maori.

Northern Maori and the British Resident

Busby arrived in the Bay of Islands on the 5th May 1833, bringing with him the official response to the 1831 letter from the 13 rangatira. On the 16th May around 600 Maori gathered at Paihia mission station to welcome the new British Resident James Busby and heard the response “from the King” that was read to them. The letter informed them that the King was pleased that the danger of French invasion had passed them by, and that he hoped that there would be no future disturbances to trade with the British. It also presented Busby as the “King’s man” sent to be a “kaiwhakarite”, an intermediary between peoples. Hugh Rihari and others describe the response of the King and the appointment of James Busby as “a true attempt for the partnership that we called for”. As British Resident, Busby was expected by the Colonial Office and the Governor of New South Wales to exercise a consular role, enhance trade, and achieve some measure of indirect control over and protection of British subjects through his dealings with local authorities. There was also some hope that the Resident would use his influence as an “educated man”, where possible, to protect Maori from the “evils of intercourse” with Europeans and exercise a benevolent civilising influence over the “half-civilised savage” for the purpose of maintaining peace in the islands.

In June 1833, Busby had decided to settle at Waitangi, only a mile and a half from the Paihia mission station, under the protection of Ngati Rahiri and their rangatira Te Kemara. His residence was constructed in January 1834, on part of the 50 acres of land transferred to him that had originally purchased by Kendall and Hall in 1815 from the Waitangi chief Waraki for 5 axes. As was generally the case with the property dealings of early settlers, he then set about negotiating the formal purchase of the land from the tupuna Heke, Tuhirangi, Reti, Inake, Te Arapiro Hau, Toua, Peha, Peia Tahitua and others, which concluded with a block totalling 270 acres in June 1834. Hall advised Busby in a letter dated April 1833 that he was in possession of a deed of sale for the 50 acres at Waitangi (as no claim had been made by the CMS) and that this would enable Busby to evict any Europeans who may be in possession of any of the land. Busby departed from New South Wales a week after the letter was written.

The British Resident aimed to construct his ideal of a relationship with Maori, of friendship and alliance, working together to create peace and prosperity, under a British framework of government, law and order. Busby saw the role of the Resident as the King’s man who would help bring this to pass. He sought to tame a chaotic frontier society and create a British system of government with ‘a settled form of government and… some system of jurisprudence’ , and make New Zealand a “British Dependency”. In order to build a modern European style of State, Busby needed an orderly and centralised Maori political system: he sought to ‘discover a case in which such a union [of collective Maori sovereignty] would prove to their [Maori] advantage.’ The need for a national flag for maritime purposes soon provided one such opportunity, and Busby called for a gathering of rangatira. This would be the first of many hui that Busby convened at his official residence, hui which Northern rangatira from Pewhairangi and further abroad used as opportunities to discuss British proposals and advance their own interests.

Te Wakaminenga at Waitangi

Ngapuhi Nui Tonu have a tradition of forming inter-hapu relationships and alliances for common purposes. Meeting places where such relationships were discussed were generally called tau rangatira. According to Gray Theodore , the meetings at tau rangatira played a huge part in the decision making of Ngapuhi prior to European occupation of the Bay of Islands. Other prominent Ngapuhi figures, including Gilbert Parker, Hilda Halkyard Harawira and Emma Gibbs Smith, have stated that this was one of a number of tau rangatira sites in existence in the North including at Taiamai, Waitangi and Taipa.

Te Wakaminenga confederation of hapu undertook two significant actions in the 1830’s: the choosing of a kara or flag in 1834 to protect Maori trade and the signing of the He Whakaputanga (Declaration of Independence) in 1835 declaring their collective sovereignty.

“He wakaminenga”, the term translated as the “United Tribes” in the Whakaputanga document, has been explained by Erimana Taniora as a “gathering of chiefs to discuss political, economic and other matters” . Nuki Aldridge confirmed that Waitangi was a meeting place for Te Wakaminenga. Emma Gibbs Smith reported her tupuna, Kai Te Kemara expressed his confidence and acceptance of the Whakaputanga by gifting a longhouse for the Whakaputanga as the tau rangatira. The longhouse was sited on approximately half an acre of land known today as “Te Taurangatira”. When asked why there had been no permanent single location for Te Wakaminenga, Erima Henare pointed out that the Assembly met at Waitangi and other places around Ngapuhi to share the hosting obligations.

Erima Henare considered that the expectations of northern hapu in their contact with Europeans apart from trade was for the Maori worldview to remain dominant. In order to achieve this they convened Te Wakaminenga assemblies, making decisions pertaining to the whenua. This intention was clearly expressed in the signing of He Whakaputanga and confirmed in Article 2 of Te Tiriti. Te Kara, the first flag, was seen as a branch of strategic intent and He Whakaputanga as a seedling from which in time the fruits of the seedling would come forth. Ngapuhi speakers at the Waitangi Tribunal claim hearings were emphatic that He Whakaputanga could not be viewed as an isolated event but as part of an historical continuum.

The choosing of the flag – Te Kara

In the 1820s, the increase in the number of ships built in New Zealand and in trans-Tasman trade had created the need for a flag to avoid customs seizures. Patuone and Taonui had been affected by such a seizure on the Hokianga-built Sir George Murray in November 1830, when Sydney customs impounded the ship’s cargo, which was interpreted as an insult to the mana of the chiefs on board.

Busby seized on this opportunity for some form of collective tribal action and invited prominent Bay of Islands chiefs that he deemed of sufficient rank to meet with him and choose a flag at Waitangi on the 20 March 1834, framing the event by claiming that it was being held under the auspices of King William of England. He erected flagstaffs and a marquee in front of the Residency where between 25-30 chiefs and their followers were in attendance. The possibility of duty-free trade and a decrease in customs interference in Australian ports was no doubt a powerful incentive for the Northern rangatira. Busby had made the choosing of a flag a condition of his certification of the registration of locally-built vessels.

On the day of assembly, the British Resident railroaded the chiefs into a decision-making process of his own invention, presenting three ready-made flag options and requiring a two-thirds majority. Not surprisingly, there was some dissent as to the circumstances of this election, two chiefs abstaining as they were ‘apprehensive lest under this ceremony lay hid some sinister design’. The assembled rangatira first politely voted for all three flags, until a Maori servant of the missionaries persuaded them to indicate a preference for a single flag. The chosen flag was declared the “The Flag of the Independent Tribes of New Zealand” and saluted by a ‘triple hurrah’ and 21-gun salute from the Alligator frigate moored nearby. The same guns were used merely a month later to bombard Ngati Ruanui settlements in Taranaki in the first action by British troops on New Zealand soil. Pakeha were treated to an elegant lunch, while the assembled rangatira were given a cauldron of cold porridge to share. The result for the rangatira, however, was that trade routes with the outside world were now officialised, and in the case of New South Wales, rendered duty-free, and the mana of Northern chiefs had been recognised by the British Crown according to a powerful European symbol. The flag was also a quintessential symbol of the European nation-state and a badge of membership for its global colonial and capitalist system: from Busby’s perspective, it was a step on the path to a British protectorate.

He Whakaputanga – the Declaration of Independence

Busby drew on the spectre of French imperialism a year later to make another step towards his plan for a government of confederated chiefs. It had become known that the Baron Charles de Thierry, a Frenchman who had met Hongi Hika in London in 1820, was planning to establish his own sovereign and independent state on some land that he believed he had purchased in the Hokianga. There is some evidence to suggest the same Baron had organised for hundreds of muskets to be delivered to Hongi Hika in New South Wales immediately after their encounter, contributing to Hongi’s devastating raids in the 1820s. Local rangatira had their own fears of French retribution after the killing of Marion Dufresne in 1772, and had heard the stories British settlers told about the conduct of their colonial competitors in other parts of the world. On the 28th October 1835, 35 chiefs assembled at Waitangi to sign “He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tirene” (which Busby termed the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand), the first two clauses being:

‘1. KO MATOU, ko nga Tino Rangatira o nga iwi o Nu Tireni i raro mai o Hauraki […] ko ka w[h]akaputa i te Rangatiratanga o to matou w[h]enua […] kia huaina, ko te W[h]akaminenga o nga Hapu o Nu Tireni

2. Ko te Kingitanga ko te mana i te w[h]enua o te w[h]akaminenga o Nu Tireni ka meatia nei kei nga Tino Rangatira anake i to matou huihuinga’

Translation into English:

‘1. WE, the hereditary chiefs and heads of the tribes of the Northern parts of New Zealand, [...] declare the Independence of our country [...] under the designation of The United Tribes of New Zealand.

‘2. All sovereign power and authority within the territories of the United Tribes of New Zealand is hereby declared to reside entirely and exclusively in the hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes in their collective capacity’

According to Reverend Williams, those present were a fair representation of the population of the Country from North Cape south to the Thames River. He Whakaputanga confirmed that the chiefs’ sovereignty and their rangatiratanga (chieftainship or self-determination, sometimes later rendered as “mana motuhake” ) was recognised by the British Crown. They also determined to meet in congress every autumn for the purpose of framing laws and dispensing justice, and were referred to in the Declaration as ‘Te Wakaminenga o nga hapu o Niu Tirene’, translated as “the United Tribes of New Zealand”. Finally the assembled rangatira acknowledged their relationship with the King and in turn, the King’s acknowledgement of their flag, which had been agreed to unanimously and signed before the British Resident.

Although the planned annual parliament was never enacted, and armed conflict between some of the signatories resumed a year later, Busby continued to call together smaller committees of Wakaminenga chiefs. The timber set aside for a parliamentary building was never used, and Busby’s desire for a centralised political structure in a tribal parliament never eventuated. However, the political system of autonomous Ngapuhi hapu convening in tau rangatira as te Wakaminenga continued on after He Whakaputanga, as it had before, independent of the British attempts to co-opt it. Moreover, British agents continued to collect signatures on He Whakaputanga until the total tally had reached fifty two in July 1839. The only chiefs who signed from the lands south of Thames were Te Hapuku of Ngati Kahungunu from Te Matau-a-Maui, who would later create a pact to resist land sales (“Te Whata a te Herunga”), and Potatau Te Wherowhero of the Waikato, who went on to accept coronation as the first figurehead of the Kingitanga movement.

For the Northern rangatira, He Whakaputanga secured a strategic alliance with the Pakeha faction most capable of projecting its military and economic power to their region, the British Empire, with all the attendant benefits of trade with settlers and with the nearby colony of New South Wales. All of these things were likely seen by rangatira as useful assistance in the ongoing maintenance of the mana and prosperity of their iwi and hapu, particularly in a volatile domestic situation of ongoing musket warfare. For the British, despite the clear assertion of independence, He Whakaputanga represented a pre-emptive right over other colonial powers to act as Protector of an infant sovereign state dependent on British assistance, in Busby’s words ‘a dependency in everything but in name’. This Declaration would later be seen as a problematic encumbrance when in 1840, the British attempt to assume sovereignty required a revocation of the sovereignty of the Maori chiefs; as a result, Busby and Hobson clumsily tried to “nullify” He Whakaputanga by making the Wakaminenga chiefs sign Te Tiriti first. The main shortcoming of this attempt was that wording of Te Tiriti clearly re-iterated the chiefs’ rangatiratanga declared in He Whakaputanga.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Preliminary matters

‘Ko He Whakaputanga te matua, ko Te Tiriti te tamaiti.’

“The Declaration [of Independence] is the parent, the Treaty [of Waitangi] is the child.”

In February 1840 one of the most significant events in the history of New Zealand occurred with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. From a Maori perspective the signing of te Tiriti was the culmination of several years of dealing with Pakeha and all that came with it. The repeated requests of some rangatira for the British to exercise some form of law over settlers and their land acquisitions seemed like they were about to bear fruit, providing a framework for Maori to acquire more Pakeha and increased trade opportunities without fear of excessive land dispossession or foreign conquest. The missionaries, who had gained influence with a growing number of converts in the 1830s, had some role in advising the rangatira in Pakeha matters and continued to exercise it in the matter of te Tiriti. For the British, it bode well for the benevolent economic annexation of New Zealand as an outlet for settlers, and the improvement through civilisation of what was now officially considered a savage but dying race. In the five years since the signing of He Whakaputanga, British policy had shifted in the balance struck between factions seeking investment, annexation and full-scale colonisation, or “Aboriginal protection” and independence: it now favoured a Protectorate or Crown Colony administered by their own representatives as “reluctant trustees” for all of the inhabitants of “Niu Tireni”, in which sovereignty would pass to the British.

Hobson’s official instructions from the British Secretary of State for the Colonies were to acquire this sovereignty through Maori consent, with the main purpose being to provide law and order for British settlers (now numbering over 2000) and so prevent their excesses from harming each other or the Maori communities they interacted with. The acceleration of settler immigration, including of those British criminals evading the law, and dubious large-scale land purchases from Maori all contributed to the official British apologetic for annexation. These factors were deemed to have made it impossible for Maori to maintain national independence, and it was for their benefit that the British would give themselves permission to intervene, all the while expressing their reluctance to do so. Moreover, tangata whenua were judged to be ‘dispersed, and petty tribes, who […] are incompetent to act, or even deliberate, in concert’ and now only had a ‘nominal’ possession of sovereignty. These prejudices were crucial to the justification of the two-track process of te Tiriti in the mind of British agents, as even though they required Maori consent for a cession of sovereignty, they did not expect Maori to be capable of fully understanding such an act, and put ‘minimal’ effort into its explanation. On the first track, an English version of te Tiriti that they had first drafted for themselves was in their minds sufficient to achieve annexation. This is in spite of the fact that it would not be signed: the only treaty ratified at Waitangi on 6 February was te Tiriti, in te reo Maori. On the second, divergent, track, the overt presentation of te Tiriti and its wording in te reo was all slanted in favour of obtaining agreement and signatures from the rangatira. The British agents could envisage the whole exercise of persuading Maori to cede sovereignty as a “nominal” act of window-dressing: they thought themselves able to couch a treaty in terms most likely to persuade the ‘uncivilized’ rangatira, emphasising its benefits to Maori rather than ensuring the signatories’ proper understanding of their expectations of this compact. The official instructions to Hobson were reflective of the prevailing attitudes that provided the British agents with the excuses to attempt to assume sovereignty, while presenting a Tiriti that did not provide for this, as it was written and portrayed in terms more favourable to the Maori audience.

However, none of these British equivocations would matter for Northern rangatira with regards to the official treaty: they signed only one document in their own language, te Tiriti. This explicitly upheld their rangatiratanga first recognised in He Whakaputanga while building on their partnership with the British Crown, in particular with regards to the management of Pakeha settlers through the appointment of a Governor. An account handed down to descendants of the rangatira is that a first draft of the treaty was offered to them in the lead-up to the signing, “te tiriti tuatahi”. This early draft was rejected by the rangatira before the 6 February as it offered to cede mana to the Queen of England, which was considered unacceptable, and in the final version was corrected to offering kawanatanga instead.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi: 5 February 1840

Over a two day period (5 and 6 February 1840) more than 500 Maori assembled at Waitangi on the grounds before the Residency and debated the merits of agreeing to a treaty with the British Crown’s representative William Hobson. On the first day, Hobson, echoed by the missionaries present, presented the rationale for te Tiriti in terms that seemed compatible with the expectations and prior requests of Northern rangatira, in a very short opening address:

‘[…] The people of Great Britain are, thank God! free; and, so long as they do not transgress the laws, they can go where they please, and their sovereign has not power to restrain them. You have sold them lands here and encouraged them to come here. Her Majesty, always ready to protect her subjects, is also always ready to restrain them.

Her Majesty the Queen asks you to sign this treaty, and so give her that power which shall enable her to restrain them.


You yourselves have often asked the King of England to extend his protection unto you. Her Majesty now offers you that protection in this treaty.’

William Hobson’s message seems clear: the overriding purpose of Te Tiriti was that the rangatira agreed to confer upon him governorship, or as the Waitangi Tribunal put it: ‘the exercise of authority over British subjects only’.

The text of the treaty was then read out to all assembled, and the debate around the signing began. Kaiteke (also known as Te Kemara), Hone Heke, Tamati Waka Nene, Rewa are some of the tupuna who addressed Hobson, and various attempts to record recollections of the translations of their speeches was made by Pakeha present. The first speakers, such as Kaiteke/Te Kemara, were from the host hapu at Waitangi, and spoke out resolutely against te Tiriti. These and other later speakers who opposed the signing are recorded as emphasising the further loss of mana Te Tiriti would heap on the ongoing loss of land, citing: loss of authority, control and possession of the land, particularly if soldiers arrived; the possibility of becoming another Port Jackson or of future servitude at the hands of increasing numbers of settlers; and examples of crooked land and trade deals by missionaries and other Pakeha. They also rejected the position of Governor on the basis that he might become superior to them, and questioned Hobson’s ability to enforce law and order amongst the Pakeha. Those in favour of te Tiriti, particularly the last orators from the Hokianga, such as Tamati Waka Nene and Patuone, spoke in favour of signing as a pragmatic recognition of the arrival of settlers in increasing numbers, and a protection against the potential consequences of this trend. To this end the Hokianga chiefs highlighted variously: the benefits of Pakeha trade; the need for Pakeha administration over increasing numbers of Pakeha settlers not controlled by the rangatira and the often dubious land deals that followed; and also, the importance of a British presence as a buttress against the possibility of enslavement or conquest by some less-enlightened colonial power.

The private thoughts of rangatira on the matter are not as well documented as those of their British counterparts, and even their speeches are filtered through the perspective of Pakeha attempting to record them, making it a lot more difficult to ascertain their various positions on the matters at hand. Ngapuhi nui Tonu claimants at the Waitangi Tribunal hearings provided perspectives on the thoughts of their tupuna as handed down to them through oral accounts. Key features were that te Tiriti was considered, in the words of Rima Edwards, a ‘kawenata tapu’, a sacred covenant between Maori rangatira and the British Crown. At no point were either mana or sovereignty ceded to the British Crown, but the rangatira agreed to allow a governor to administer the affairs of Pakeha settlers. This covenant was to provide the basis for an ongoing relationship, a partnership, with the Crown and its agent, the governor, and as with any relationship, this would be subject to ‘ongoing discussion and reassessment’. This was evidenced by another account handed down to Rima Edwards, that immediately after the signing, the rangatira planned a follow-up meeting with Hobson and the Queen for the 6th of February 1841 to discuss various issues (such as their rights in land matters), and presented an agenda for this meeting to the missionaries.

The CMS missionary William Colenso has the fullest account of the speeches given at Waitangi, which is far from comprehensive or exact , as he wrote them after the fact based on notes taken at the hui. Doubt about whether Colenso correctly recorded the tenor of Hone Heke’s speech, which in his account appears to be in favour of te Tiriti, is a salient example of this issue. Nonetheless, Colenso’s account is used for all the quotes to follow.

Nga Tupuna who signed Te Tiriti at Waitangi, February 1840

Te Kemara Kaiteke (Ngati Rahiri, Ngati Kawa)

Te Kemara the chief of Waitangi in 1840 (Ngati Kawa, Ngati Rahiri) Te Kemara was a tohunga and seer of great mana and a direct descendant of Te Ra through both his father Whe and mother Mano. Te Kemara was a signatory of the He Whakaputanga in 1835 and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840.

On the 5th February 1840 the first rangatira to speak, Te Kemara, told Hobson, the land that they stood on was his, but like the rest of the inheritances of his ancestors, it was ‘all gone, stolen, gone with the missionaries’. He wanted his lands returned and for Hobson to leave, themes that rangatira Rewa, and Kawiti, reiterated.

‘Health to thee, O Governor! I will not consent to thy remaining here in this country. I shall never say ‘yes’ to your staying. Were all to be on an equality, then, perhaps, Te Kemara would say, ‘Yes’; but for the Governor to be up and Te Kemara down low, small, a worm, a crawler—No, no, no. O Governor! My land has gone. The inheritances of my ancestors, fathers, relatives, all gone, stolen, gone with the missionaries. That man there, Busby, and that man there, Williams, they have my land. The land on which we are now standing this day is mine. This land, even this under my feet, return it to me. O Governor, return me my lands. Say to Williams, ‘Return to Te Kemara his land.’ O Governor! I do not wish thee to stay. And Te Kemara says to thee, go back, leave to Busby and to Williams to arrange and to settle matters for us natives as heretofore.’

Marupo (Ngati Rahiri)

Marupo was a young fighting chief who rose to prominence in the 1820’s. Marupo was one of the young men who participated in Ngapuhi Tu Taua war expeditions south circa 1820 along with Kaiteke, Hongi Hika and many other Northern rangatira. The whakapapa links between Hone Heke and Marupo are close. A signatory of He Whakaputanga, Marupo was present at Waitangi on the 6th February 1840 and gave a concerted attack on the Treaty of Waitangi. Dressed only in a piupiu Marupo was especially determined in his opposition continuing to harangue until his voice and body failed from sheer exhaustion. He later joined with other chiefs who signed.

Hone Heke Pokai (Ngati Rahiri, Ngai Tawake, Te Matarahurahu, Ngati Tautahi, Te Uri o Hua)

Hone Heke Pokai (c.1807- 7 August 1850) was born at Pakaraka in the Bay of Islands. The third child of Te Kona and Tupanapana (the great grandson of Kauteawha). His mana as a descendant of Rahiri was beyond dispute which was further enhanced by his reputation gained through his own energy and prowess. Heke was quick and intelligent, a diligent pupil during his time in the Kerikeri Missionary School which he attended in 1824-1825. He married Riria and had two children. Unfortunately both Riria and the two infants died and Hone Heke took a second wife, Hariata the daughter of Hongi Hika. Heke remained a warrior despite his conversion to Christianity. Hone Heke was a signatory of the He Whakaputanga in 1835. In 1840 despite signing te Tiriti, Heke became disillusioned with the agreement. Heke along with his ally Kawiti became well known in their objection with the battles against the British that took place in later years. He is often remembered for the felling of the flagstaff at Kororareka. There is some degree of uncertainty regarding the tenor of his speech as it is recorded by Colenso.

‘To rise up, or to bring down? Which? Who knows? Sit, Governor, sit. If thou shouldst return, we Natives are gone, utterly gone, nothinged, extinct. What, then, shall we do? Who are we? Remain, Governor, a father for us. This, my friends, is a good thing. It is even as the word of God. (Heke flourishes a copy of the New Testament) Thou to go away! No! For then the French people or the rum sellers will have us Natives. Remain, you with the missionaries, all as one. But we Natives are children. It is not for us, but for you, our fathers—you missionaries—it is for you to decide, what it shall be. I say, Governor, sit! a father, a Governor for us.’

Kawiti (Te Ruki) (Ngati Hine)

The chief Kawiti (Ngati Hine) is thought to have been born around the 1770s. An 11th generation descendant of Rahiri his parents Huna and Te Tawai were both of Ngati Hine descent. Kawiti was a tohunga having being admitted to Te Whare Wananga mo nga Tohunga upon reaching maturity. He was a notable warrior and strategist who favoured rugged terrain as his battleground and fighting hand to hand combat. Kawiti also gained the reputation as a peacemaker among his people. Kawiti was a signatory of the He Whakaputanga. In 1835 Kawiti was opposed to the introduction of British rule (as his speech on the 5th February 1840 shows), however under the pressure of his own people, Kawiti relented and signed the document. He was soon allied with Hone Heke and the two fought against the British – first at Kororareka with the felling of the flagstaff and later in the battles which culminated in the Battle of Ruapekapeka. Kawiti is renowned for his pa and battlement construction.

‘No, no. Go back. What dost thou want here? We Native men do not wish thee to stay. We do not want to be tied up and trodden on. We are free. Let the missionaries remain, but, as for thee, return to thine own country. (Indicates to Hobson) What! To be fired at when quietly paddling our canoes by night! I, even I, Kawiti, must not paddle this way, nor paddle that way, because the Governor said ‘No’—because of the Governor, the soldiers, and his guns! No. Go back; go back there’s no place here for the Governor.’

Tareha (Ngati Rehia, Ngai Tawake)

Tareha, chief of Ngati Rehia was the grandson of Te Perenga the sister of Auha and Whakaaria . He lived at Te Tii Mongonui which has a link to Te Tii Waitangi both through whakapapa and marriage alliances (Kauteawha the ally of Auha and Whakaaria during the conquest at Te Waimate). Tareha was also present at the signing of the Treaty 1840 and in 1835 he signed the He Whakaputanga. He did not sign the Treaty but attended with his sons Hakiro and Mene. Tareha’s speech suggests that he was opposed to the Treaty:

‘No Governor for me—for us native men. We, we only are the chiefs, rulers. We will not be ruled over. What thou, a foreigner, up, and I down! Thou high, and I, Tareha, the great chief of the Ngapuhi tribes, low! No, no; I will never say ‘Yes’. Our lands are already all gone. If all were to be alike, all equal in rank with thee—but thou, the Governor up high— up, up, as this tall paddle and I down, under, beneath! No, no. No. I will never say, Yes, stay. Go back, make haste away. 'Yes.' Stay! Alas! what for? why? What is then here for thee? Our lands are already all gone. Yes, if is so, but our names remain. Never mind; what of that—the lands of our fathers alienated? Dost thou think we are poor, indigent, poverty-stricken—that we really need thy foreign garments, thy food? Lo! note this." (Here he held up high a bundle of fern-roots he carried in his hand, displaying it.) "See, this is my food, the food of my ancestors, the food of the Native people. Pshaw, Governor! To think of tempting men—us Natives—with baits of clothing and of food! Yes, I say we are the chiefs. If all were to be alike, all equal in rank with thee—but thou, the Governor up high—up, up, as this tall paddle" (here he held up a common canoe-paddle), "and I down, under, beneath! No, no no. I will never say, 'Yes, stay.' Go back, return; make haste away. Let me see you [all] go, thee and thy ship. Go, go; return, return.’

Rewa (Ngai Tawake, Ngati Tautahi, Te Patukeha, Te Uri o Ngongo)

The chief Rewa and his brothers Moka and Wharerahi were the sons of Te Maoi (descendant of Te Wairua, Ngati Tautahi) and Te Auparo (who was killed by Ngare Raumati in a turnip plantation, thus the name of the hapu Te Patukeha taken by his brother Moka). Rewa lived at Kororareka and had a kainga (Haratu) near the residence of Bishop Pompallier of whom he was a friend. Rewa and his brothers were some of the original signatories of both He Whakaputanga in 1835 and the earlier petition to King William IV in 1831. In February 1840 he was opposed to Hobson and stated as much.

‘How d’ye do, Mr Governor? Let the Governor return to his own country. Let my lands be returned to me which have been taken by the missionaries—by Davis and by Clarke, and by who and who besides. I have no lands now—only a name. What do Native men want of a Governor? We are not whites, nor foreigners. This country is ours, but the land is gone. Nevertheless we are the Governor—we, the chiefs of this our fathers’ land. I will not say ‘Yes’ to the Governor remaining. No. No, return. I, Rewa, say to thee, O Governor! Go back.’

Moka Te Kainga Mataa (Ngai Tawake, Ngati Tautahi, Te Patukeha, Te Uri o Ngongo)

The chief Moka was the youngest of the three brothers. He was an original signatory of He Whakaputanga along with his brothers (Rewa & Wharerahi). Moka was present at Kororareka on the 30 January 1840, when Hobson spoke about rectifying the matter of land transactions (pre-emption), and was the sole Maori signatory on the document that stated what had occurred at the event. Moka later challenged Hobson on this point in his speech at Waitangi.

‘Let the Governor return to his own country: let us remain as we were. Let my lands be returned to me—all of them—those that are gone with Baker. Do not say, ‘The lands will be returned to you.’ Who will listen to thee, O Governor? Who will obey thee? Where is Clendon? Where is Mair? Gone to buy our lands notwithstanding one word the book [Proclamation] of the Governor. That is good, O Governor! That is straight. But stay, let me see. Where is Baker, where is the fellow? Ah, there he is—there, standing. (points to Baker) Come, and return to me my lands. (Moka addresses this to Baker) There! Yes, that is as I said. No, all false, all false alike. The lands will not return to me.’

Te Wharerahi (Ngai Tawake, Ngati Tautahi, Te Patukeha, Te Uri o Ngongo)

The oldest of the three brothers Wharerahi (sometimes known as Hori Kingi Wharerahi) was based at Waimate. He married Tari the sister of senior chiefs Patuone and Waka Nene. In 1828 he along with his brother in-law Patuone intervened to save the Wesleyan Missionaries from death. In 1830 he took part in the sale of land at Waimate for the mission station. He was a signatory to the petition to King William IV in 1831 and the He Whakaputanga in 1835. In 1840 he disagreed with his brothers, supporting the Crown.

‘Yes! What else? Stay, sit; if not, what? Is it not good to be in peace? We will have this man as our Governor. What! Turn him away! Say to this man of the Queen, go back! No, no.’

Hakiro (Ngati Rehia Ngai Tawake)

Hakiro was the son of Ngati Rehia chief Tareha. Although he signed the Treaty in 1840 and spoke to Hobson on the 5th February at Waitangi, Hakiro spoke and represented the principle chief Titore of (Ngati Nanenane) who had passed away and not his father Tareha. Titore was a signatory of both the petition to King William IV in 1831 and the He Whakaputanga in 1835. Hakiro was opposed to Hobson.

‘To thee, O Governor! this. Who says 'Sit'? Who? Hear me, O Governor! I say, no, no. Sit, indeed! Who says 'Sit'? Go back, go back; do not thou sit here. What wilt thou sit here for? We are not thy people. We are free. We will not have a Governor. Return, return; leave us. The missionaries and Busby are our fathers. We do not want thee; so go back, return, walk away.’

Patuone (Eruera Maihi) (Ngati Hao, Ngati Pou)

Patuone (Ngati Hao, Ngati Pou) (c1764 – 19 September 1872) was the son of Tapua and Te Kawehau (a descendant of Te Wairua), a leader and tohunga (like his father before him) and the elder brother of Nene. By marriage and descent Patuone was related to many neighbouring hapu. When he died on 19th September 1872 he was reportedly at least 108 years old. He said that when he was a child he accompanied his father Tapua and saw Cook’s vessel at Cape Brett. Patuone signed the petition to King William IV in 1831 and He Whakaputanga in 1835. At the negotiations at Waitangi on the 5th February 1840, Patuone agreed with his brother in-law Te Wharerahi when he spoke for peace and the acceptance of the European. He was influential and persuaded a number of chiefs to sign on the 6th February 1840 at Waitangi.

What shall I say on this great occasion, in the presence of all those great chiefs of both countries? This is my word to thee, O Governor! Remain here with us to be a father for us, that the French have us not, that Pikopo, that bad man have us not. Remain, Governor. Sit, our friend.

Nene (Tamati Waka) (Ngati Hao, Ngati Pou, Ngati Miru)

Nene (c 1785 – 4 August 1871) (Ngati Hao, Ngati Pou, Ngati Miru) was the younger brother of Patuone. He became known amongst the European community as someone they could rely on and turn to for advice. He was a renowned warrior and also recognised the benefits of trade with Pakeha. He was baptised Tamati Waka (Thomas Walker) in 1839. He worked alongside James Busby to regularise relationships between Pakeha and Maori and in 1840 supported Hobson by signing the Treaty despite having signed both the petition to King William IV in 1831 and the He Whakaputanga in 1835. It is thought that although he supported Hobson at Waitangi he would not have accepted the Treaty as a total cession of sovereignty. During the debate of the 5th February, Nene spoke of it being too late to turn their backs on the Pakeha (there is also some doubt about Colenso’s version of his speech ).

‘(addressing the chiefs) What do you say? The Governor to return? What then, shall

we do? Say here to me, oh ye chiefs of the tribes of the northern part of New Zealand! What we, how we? Is not the land already gone? Is it not covered, all covered, with men, with strangers, foreigners—over whom we have no power? We, the chiefs and Natives of this land, are down low; they are up high, exalted. The Governor to go back? I am sick, I am dead, killed by you. Had you spoken thus in the old time, when the traders and the grog sellers came, then you could well say to the Governor, go back. But now, as things are, no! no! (addressing Hobson) O Governor! Sit. I, Tamati Waka, say to thee, sit. Do not thou go away from us. Remain for us—a father, a judge, a peacemaker. Sit thou here; dwell in our midst. Remain; do not go away. Stay thou, our friend, our father, our Governor.’

Taiwhanga (Rawiri) (Ngati Tautahi, Te Uri o Hua)

Taiwhanga (c 1818 – 1874) was the son of Tawatawa and Wahi. His hapu were Ngati Tautahi and Te Uri o Hua of Kaikohe. Taiwhanga was a warrior who executed a skilful rescue of the chief moka during the battle of Te Ika a Ranganui at Kaiwaka. He was fascinated by the foreign crops and animals and methods of agriculture which he observed at the Kerikeri mission station. He worked as a foreman for John Butler who described him as a man of quick discernment. Taiwhanga’s long association with the CMS missionaries led to his Baptism at Paihia in 1830. Taiwhanga was remembered as the first commercial dairy farmer in New Zealand with the establishment of a successful dairy farm east of Kaikohe. He was supportive of the Treaty as evidenced by his speech on the 5th February 1840.

‘Good morning Mr Governor! Our Father! Sit, that we may be in peace. A good thing this for us—yes, for us, my friends, Native men. Stay, do thou remain O Governor! To be a Governor for us.’

Reweti Atuahaere (Ngati Tautahi)

Te Reweti Atuahaere was a chief of Ngati Tautahi tribe of Kaikohe . An Uncle to Hone Heke he signed all three documents, the petition to King William IV in 1831, He Whakaputanga in 1835 and the Treaty at Waitangi on 6 February 1840. In June 1834 at his own request he was baptised by the missionary William Yate.

Pumuka (Te Roroa, Ngati Rangi)

Pumuka was a chief of Te Roroa but also had whakapapa connections to Ngati Rangi. He signed both the He Whakaputanga in 1835 and the Treat on 6th February 1840 at Waitangi. He was gifted a Union Jack flag by James Busby in 1833 in recognition of his help in building good relations with the Maori chiefs. Although supportive of the signing of the Treaty (see his speech) it is noted that he fought alongside Hone Heke and Kawiti at Kororareka in 1845 and was killed there by Captain David Robertson of the HMS Hazard.

‘Stay, Governor; remain for me. Hear, all of you. I will have this man a foster-father for me. Stay, Governor. Listen to my words. I wish to have two fathers—thou and Busby, and the missionaries.’

Tamati Pukututu (Te Uri o te Hawato, Te Uri o Ngongo)

Tamati Pukututu was a rangatira (chief) of Te Uri-o-te-Hawato at Kawakawa. Pukututu, who was baptised in the early 1830s, was supportive of the missionaries. In 1835 he was a signatory of the He Whakaputanga and he signed the Treaty on the 6th February 1840, at Waitangi. He was the first to speak in support of Governor William Hobson. He was said to have been gifted a Union Jack flag by Hobson at the signing. Pukututu remained a strong supporter of the government.

‘This is mine to thee O Governor! Sit, Governor, a Governor for us— for me, for all, that our land may remain with us—that those fellows and creatures who sneak about, sticking to rocks and to the side of brooks and gullies, may not have it all. These chiefs say, ‘Don’t sit’, because they have sold all their possessions, they are filled with foreign property, and they have also no more to sell. You two stay here, you and Busby—you two, and they also, the missionaries.’

The signing of Te Tiriti

After the formal speeches had concluded on the eve of 6 February, the rangatira met to discuss Te Tiriti on the Paihia side of the Waitangi River mouth at Te Taurangatira (now the site of Te Tii marae). Pakeha traders and grog sellers are said to have lobbied them there to reject the treaty, resistant as they were to the taxes and regulations that might finally follow from their homelands. More influential, however, was the advice of the British missionaries in favour of the signing, who many rangatira trusted or at least had some regard for as adequate counsel in their dealings with Pakeha. The chiefs from Kororareka seem to have been counselled by Bishop Pompallier, a French Roman Catholic, who was, it seems, more reserved towards Te Tiriti and who had explained to rangatira the potential negative implications for their position.

On the morning of 6 February, the meeting was hastily reconvened a day early by the missionaries, fearful that the assembled Maori would disband without signing the document. After Te Tiriti was again read out loud, the rangatira were invited to step forward and sign, but none did so. Busby then decided to call them by name, and began with Hone Heke, who was considered to be favourably disposed towards the signing. Colenso is then said to have briefly interjected, expressing concerns that the rangatira may not understand the treaty after his discussions with some of them led him to believe that many may not understand ‘the purport of the treaty’ , to which Hobson replied by paraphrasing the translation of Hone Heke’s words the day earlier: ‘The Native mind could not comprehend these things: they must trust to the advice of their missionaries.’ Hone Heke proceeded to step forward and sign Te Tiriti, followed by many other rangatira, including three women: Takurua, Te Marama, and Ana Haru. Although they expressed great reluctance and still spoke out against the treaty while it was being signed by others, local chiefs Te Kemara/Kaiteke, Rewa, Marupo and Ruhe eventually added their own tohu to the document.

In total, over 40 tupuna signed the Treaty at Waitangi on the 6 February 1840, most from Pewhairangi and surrounds, reaching only as far as the Hokianga and Whangaruru. All of them signed te Tiriti, which some mistakenly refer to as the “Maori version” of the Treaty. At this event, there was no English version to sign, and all affixed their marks to a document in te reo that guaranteed their ‘tino rangatiratanga o o ratou whenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa’, and under which they gave the Queen ‘te Kawanatanga katoa o o ratou whenua’. The same “rangatiratanga” that the chiefs had declared over the country in He Whakaputanga was thus re-affirmed in Te Tiriti, and signed by William Hobson as Lieutenant-Governor – the Kawana (Governor) who would be accorded governorship or kawanatanga on behalf of the United Kingdom, in a sphere of influence centred on Pakeha settlers, as allowed for by the autonomous Northern hapu. Hobson promised what he himself termed ‘perfect independence’ to those present; and in return, the rangatira were ‘allowing the exercise of another function of government in the form of the kawana and his authority’.

Quotes from speakers at the Waitangi Tribunal hearings illustrate Ngapuhi intentions and understanding in signing Te Tiriti. Ngapuhi is emphatic that in 1840 they did not cede their sovereignty to the Crown. What they hoped was that Hobson would be able to exercise a more effective authority than Busby over his own people, making for a peaceful and fruitful relationship with the Queen and “her tribe” (tona iwi). Speaking of the relationship between He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti, Erima Henare stated simply, ‘One reaffirmed the other’. Henare further explained their final decision to sign as a ‘calculated risk’, trusting the explanations of te Tiriti given to them by the British. The lasting impression that the rangatira took of the te Tiriti, according to Moana Jackson, was that it was ‘a Maori reaffirmation of the ideals contained in He Whakaputanga and a tikanga-based expectation that the British Crown would meet its obligations by helping to keep order among Pakeha while acknowledging the kawa and mana of the existing polities.’

The Waitangi Tribunal released their findings in the report titled “He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti” in November 2014. After listening to the claimants and looking through the evidence they determined that Ngapuhi rangatira did not cede their sovereignty: ‘On that, the rangatira did not give full and free consent, because it was not the proposal that Hobson put to them in February 1840’.

As the Tribunal concluded:

‘Bay of Islands and Hokianga rangatira did not cede their sovereignty when they signed te Tiriti o Waitangi.’

‘…they did not cede their authority to make and enforce law over their people and within their territories. Rather, they agreed to share power and authority with the Governor. They and Hobson were to be equal, although of course they had different roles and different spheres of influence. The detail of how this relationship would work in practice, especially where the Maori and European populations intermingled, remained to be negotiated over time on a case-by-case basis. But the rangatira did not surrender to the British the sole right to make and enforce law over Maori.’

‘In summary, an agreement was reached at Waitangi, Waimate, and Mangungu in February 1840. That agreement can be found in what signatory rangatira (or at least the great majority of them) were prepared to assent to, based on the proposals that Hobson and his agents made to them by reading te Tiriti and explaining the proposed agreement verbally, and on the assurances the rangatira sought and received. Under that agreement, the rangatira welcomed Hobson and agreed to recognise the Queen’s kawanatanga. They regarded the Governor’s presence as a further, significant step in their developing relationship with the Crown. In recognition of the changed circumstances since he Whakaputanga had been signed in 1835, they accepted an increased British authority in New Zealand. The authority that Britain explicitly asked for, and they accepted, allowed the Governor to control settlers and thereby keep the peace and protect Maori interests. It also appears to have made Britain responsible for protecting New Zealand from foreign powers.’

The Crown’s later dishonouring of the Treaty has led to a legacy of petitions, protest, conflict and political unions at Waitangi, in Pewhairangi, and all throughout the country. This began as early as 1844 with Hone Heke’s repeated protests and his sacking of Kororareka leading to war against the British army and its Maori supporters. It continued with the early Kotahitanga movement and the birth of the Kingitanga in the 1850s, and the many Land Wars and resistance movements of Te Whiti, Titokowaru and Te Kooti in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1881, Ngapuhi hapu met at Waitangi to discuss the articles of Te Tiriti in light of their tribulations since 1840, and decided to petition their Treaty partner, the Queen of England. Upon the return of their unsuccessful deputation, they carved the Treaty in stone and erected it as a memorial at Te Tii marae.

Te Whare Runanga

Te Whare Runanga

The idea of a whare whakairo was mooted by representatives of Ngapuhi as early as 1878, though it did not come to fruition until 1940, 8 years after Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata (1874-1950) wrote to Lord Bledisloe regarding preparations for centennial Treaty of Waitangi commemorations. The Waitangi estate was gifted to the People of New Zealand by Governor-General Lord Bledisloe and Lady Bledisloe in 1932.

Treaty commemorations on 6 February 1934 included the laying of a foundation stone for the Whare Runanga witnessed by some 6000 Maori, and the erection of the Tahuhu or ridge pole, which had been prepared by carvers at the School of Maori Art in Rotorua. The commemorations attracted a large contingent of iwi leaders from around the motu and a huge audience. Several Maori notaries gave speeches including senior Ngapuhi Kaumatua and politician the honourable MP Tau Henare.

The Whare Runanga was completed and officially opened on 6 February 1940 during the Centennial Celebrations, as a national memorial for all Maori to commemorate their role in the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Women associated with the opening ceremony include Whina Te Wake of Whakarapa, and Matire Ngapua of Kaikohe, her cousin Pare Ngapua and Hemairua Matene of Waimamaku, the great grand-daughter of Moetara.

Men of the 28th Maori Battalion took part in opening proceedings at Waitangi alongside Sir Apirana Ngata. Several of the carvers who worked on the Whare Runanga also went to war as Battalion Members of C and A Company.

The Whare Runanga was intended to symbolize the friendship between Treaty partners and be emblematic of the words coined by Captain Hobson … ‘he iwi tahi tatou – we are now one people’. For Ngapuhi the Whare Runanga represented a desire to commemorate in a worthy manner their tupuna who had signed He Whakatipuranga – Maori Declaration of Independence and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It was a statement about survival, identity, pride and Kotahitanga.

The styles of carvings reflect the traditional styles of several iwi and personify real tupuna and mythological ancestors of the local area and of the motu. According to the notes Sir Apirana Ngata left, the Maori experts he consulted with deliberately decided against giving the meeting house a tupuna name, instead opting to give it the title Te Whare Runanga. This was an auspicious title as the literal translation for Runanga is ‘to assemble or to call to assembly’, which denotes the function of the structure and its mauri as a place where representatives of all tribes could gather to discuss issues of import.

The design of the whare nui was driven by Sir Apirana Ngata according to the template be developed for the Rotorua School of Maori Arts and Crafts. He drew inspiration from Whare Nui at Panguru, Waima, Tokomaru, Ruatoki and Wairoa.

Essentially Sir Apirana Ngata used the medium of whakairo as a way to honour Treaty signatories and to commemorate tupuna of ancient renown. Sir Apirana Ngata referred to the Runanga as”…a museum of tribal affiliations and a picture gallery…

Te Whare Runanga is associated with some of the greatest carvers of the 20th century as well as the men and women who crafted tukutuku, kowhaiwhai, kakaho and scroll work. Pineamine (Pine) Taiapa and his brother Hone (John) Te Kauru Taiapa oversaw carving production. The Taiapa brothers were two of the country’s greatest and most prolific carvers. They brought in carvers: Eramiha Kapua, Wi Mou, John Metekingi, Joe King, Wi te Rarihi, Hori Kerei [Horikerei] Waititi, Kahukiwi Henare, Bill Paddie, Joe Mokaraka, Rua Kaika, as well as Charles Tuarau and Willie Woodbine (Rarotongans). Only Apirana Ngata had a greater impact on Maori cultural resurgence in the twentieth century.

From 1942, Te Whare Runanga was supported visually and culturally by the canoe shelter housing Ngatokimatawhaorua, the design of this including a porch with carved gable ends facing towards the marae in front of Te Whare Runanga. This whare waka was taken down in 1974 and another erected at the front of Hobsons Beach facing the water. The Whare Waka is also known as Te Korowai o Maikuku, an allusion to the mana and to the story of the tupuna Maikuku. Ngatokimatawhaorua within Te Korowai o Maikuku links to the tekoteko, Kupe, who sits proudly atop Te Whare Runanga.

Tupuna who built the Whare Runanga

The first group of expert carvers from the School of Maori Arts and Crafts started work on pou late in April 1934 and included Eramiha Kapua of Ngati Tarawhai (Te Arawa), Pine and John Taiapa of Ngati Porou, and two apprentices of Rarotongan extraction-Iotua (Charlie) Tuarau and Willie Marama (Woodbine). This set of carvers drew inspiration from studying the forms of Northland taonga curated and housed at the Auckland Museum. In June 1935-March 1936 another cohort of Maori carvers under the tutelage of the Taiapa brothers resumed work: Wi Te Parihi Mou (from Kaikohe), Hohaia Mokaraka (Waima), Walter Leaf, Morunga Clark, William Howard (Panguru) and apprentice Matarae Brown Kawiti (Opahi).

In 1939 Pine Taiapa returned to Taitokerau and oversaw the progress of carvers based at Waiomio. Charlie Tuarau, Wi Te Parihi Mou, Hohaia Mokaraka and Hoani Mete Kingi (Whanganui), Rua Kaika (Ngati Porou) and Hori Waititi (Whanau a Apanui) were part of this tira.

The construction of the house proper began at Waitangi in March 1939 using local labour supervised by Richard Wills. The construction team included Ngakau Rakete(Kaikohe), Bob Pera, T and H Cassidy (Taheke), A Samuel (Matauri) Karu Puhi Puhi and Bill Bevan with assistance from Mita Aperahama Eru and Harry de la Croix (both from Kaikohe) Hohepa Tauera (Taurere?) and W Puhi Puhi.

Reeds for the tukutuku panels and the ceiling (kakaho) were gathered and prepared in June 1939, much of the material having been imported from the Manawatu district. This work was carried out by H. Karaka (Pamapuria) Hohepa Hepata (Joe Herbert from Waimate North), Taha Kapa (Kaikohe) Hemi Maihi (Mangamuka) and M Shelford (Akerama). The tukutuku panels were woven at Kotahitanga marae in Kaikohe in July and August by Tawhai and Hoki Takoko, Hinewaka Paenga, Heni Te Kira, Roa Tuhou, Ringatu Poi, Hohepa Taurere, Harry de la Croix and Mita Aperahama Eru.

The kowhaiwhai rafters were painted at Waitangi under the supervision of expert Ringatu Poi (Ngati Porou) in July 1939.The kowhaiwhai workers included W. Bevan, W. Allen (Waimate North), H. Hohepa (Waima) and H. Wharerahi.

Other workers employed in various ways included Hohepa Hepata, M Shelford, F H Tane (Oromahoe) , H. Karaka, D. Ruwhiu (Opua), Duncan Wihongi (Kaikohe), Massey Rogers (Ngawha), Pouaka Taurua (Waitangi), Wairua Hepi (Oromahoe), H. Tame Naera, Retimana Taepa and Hema Pera.

These men and women who contributed in other ways came from Ngapuhi communities from Hokianga to Pewhairangi, with some from Te Rarawa and Ngati Kahu.

Waitangi 1910-2015

Waitangi has remained a place of political importance, and after a lull in its prominence in the early part of the twentieth century, has grown in profile on the national stage. In 1940 the centennial commemoration of the signing of the Treaty celebrated with the opening of the Whare Runanga and the launching of the Ngatokimatawhaorua waka. Both the tekoteko of Kupe on top of the whare Runanga and Ngatokimatawhaorua connect and reconfirm the tupuna Kupe and his mokopuna Nukutawhiti to their many descendants of nga hapu o Ngapuhi and of iwi further afield. 1940 also saw the powhiri ceremony for the 28th Maori Battalion soldiers who travelled north from Palmerston North and performed their new marching song, “Maori Battalion March to Victory”. Their visit remains the only time the army has paraded at Waitangi. The Queen visited Waitangi in 1953 soon after her ascension to the throne and again in 1963. The later visit incurred a tragic bus crash on the Brynderwyn hills between Whangarei and Wellsford as a group of 15 people lost their lives in a crash on their way to see the Queen at Waitangi.

From the late 1960s onwards, Waitangi and its commemorations became a focus for popular protest as Maori called on the government to recognise the Treaty and its failure to uphold the partnership it provided for with Maori. In 1969, the flagstaff was repaired and re-erected after being damaged by activists using explosives. Initially, protests called for a greater Pakeha awareness of Maori culture and identity, but expanded to request acknowledgement of Maori as tangata whenua – the people of the land – and justice for the wrongs caused to Maori by government action. The Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 led to the creation of the Waitangi Tribunal for the legal investigation of a considerable number of treaty-related issues. The Tribunal would act as a permanent commission of inquiry for claims by Maori against the Crown. In 1985, the Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Act enabled the examination of claims extending back to the first signing in 1840.

The sesquicentennial commemorations were marked by large celebrations. The Bay was filled with all manner of boats, navy frigates, tall ships, America’s Cup boats, and twenty waka including the great waka taua Ngatokimatawhaorua. The security was tight as the Queen attended. Many felt it would be an empty anniversary, and in 1989 Hone Harawira said, “One year off 150 years and what have we got to celebrate? Nothing, absolutely nothing.” As the royal couple were driven up Nias track in an open car at the celebrations in 1990, a young women hurled a wet black T-shirt at the Queen, which left her visibly shaken. Other protestors chanted, “Go home!”, when she was speaking.

Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, the Bishop of Aotearoa, made an important speech to the cheers and applause of the protestors. His korero has been referred to as one of the great New Zealand sermons of the twentieth century:

‘Some of us have come here to remember what our tupuna said on this ground: that the Treaty was a compact between two people. But since the signing of that Treaty 150 years ago, I want to remind our partner that you have marginalised us. You have not honoured the Treaty. We have not honoured each other in the promises that we made on this sacred ground. Since 1840, the partner that has been marginalised is me – the language of this land is yours, the custom is yours, the media by which we tell the world who we are, are yours. The needs and tastes of one partner is addressed in all our advertisements and it makes me sad when we sing “give me a taste of Kiwi” with a Red Lion can.’

Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s the politicians received their share of jostling, mud and tears. In 2010 the waka Ngatokimatawhaorua turned seventy which coincided with the Year of the Waka. More than 30 waka gathered at Waitangi, and Glass Murray, 86, from Te Kao, the last known living member of the original crew attended.

Today the Waitangi Day celebrations take on monumental proportions with the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Waitangi Marae being inundated with people for at least a week, with many taking part in debates, stalls, services and sports.

Landscape Context

In terms of geographical waypoints in the landscape, the most prominent feature is Te Puke volcanic cone, which is also the highest maunga in the Pewhairangi district. Maunga Te Puke is 136m above sea level and is located approximately 1.6km west of Maunga Te Arakanihi, Mt Bledisloe, and Maunga Kawari. From the tihi of Maunga Te Puke there is a 360 degree panoramic view and direct line of sight down upon each of the neighbouring sentry maunga. The summit also takes in a commanding view of the takutai moana (coast) and whenua (land) including Waitangi proper and the meandering watercourses. There are several cave features that are memorialised in local oral traditions and on maps, the most notable in terms of Waitangi precinct being Te Ana o Maikuku, Te Ana Kaukau and Ruarangis taniwha lair at the back of Te Tahuna Road going back up the River towards Haruru.

The reserve has two high land ridges – one runs from the Haruru Falls to Hutia Creek, the north eastern end of this ridge is named Ramamrama on an 1865 plan (OLC 930A) and the other is Hobson Hill in the vicinity of Wairoa Bay.

The Coastline adjacent to Waitangi Precinct proper possesses a sheltered shoreline with rocky outcrops formed by lava flow; the shore itself is a mix of boulders and beach gravel. Mudflats and mangroves are discontinuous around the coastline but reach to the inland lowlands around the north western reaches of Wairoa Bay.

The main waterbodies pertinent to Waitangi are the Hutia River, Kawakawa River, Okura River and Waitangi River. Hutia estuary once consisted of saltmarsh and freshwater swamp characterised by sedges, harakeke, raupo, bracken, karamu and mahoe. According to a water catchment study Waitangi Catchment is broke into five sub-catchments Upper Waitangi; Lower Waitangi; Manaia Stream, Puketotara and Waiaruhe. According to Griffin, around each slope is a stream or water body.

The Waitangi River meanders its way through the Waitangi lowlands. It was traditionally a highly valued means of transport and sustenance, zealously guarded because of its resources and spiritual connotations. The Waitangi Riverine environment contains bands of Horeke basaltic rock along its margins, was prolific in fisheries, attracted a diverse range of birdlife and was revered as a taniwha pathway.

There is also a freshwater punawai located less than a km inland of the beach front, the course of which would have at one time exited at the beachside. The Waitangi National Trust has built a pathway that skirts around that punawai. The streams present course was diverted with the construction of the Waitangi Café and Museum. Emma Gibbs has relayed that Maikuku is thought to have had a scrying pool/mirror pool not far from her cave.

The Waitangi precinct was once clothed in mature Kauri forest and Pohutukawa species which adapted to the drier volcanic soils along the coastal zone. Pollen cores taken from Waitangi Wetland attest to this vegetation pattern. Taonga (wooden stakes) made of kanuka have also been found. Pre-1880 maps and local names suggest that by the time of European arrival, the area was carpeted in aruhe and shrub species with pockets of dense remnant forest mostly along the valleys and gullys. Karaka was said to have been present near Te Ra pa. Today most of Waitangi is in clothed in grassland (62 percent); native forest makes up 12 percent ground cover; kanuka and manuka make up 6 percent ground cover and hardwoods 2 percent; the rest is planted in exotics. Conservation land parcels hold the bulk of remnant forest.

Settlement Pattern - Archaeology

Pewhairangi was a prime location for occupation. A large number of archaeological sites have been recorded in Pewhairangi, suggesting that it had the resource capacity to support a number of people.

The Takutai Moana provided food of all kinds, including kaimoana, while kumara and other staple crops could be grown easily in the warm, fertile micro environment. Captain Cook observed that aruhe grew wild and that there was large well-kept gardens of kumara, yam and taro. Archaeological pollen core data supports this observation and indicates that Taro was cultivated in swampy areas prior to European Settlement post 1839. The mara kai sites P05/511 & P05/580 are described as a cluster of taro plants.

In the early 19th Century there were at least two Maori kainga between Waitangi and Kerikeri – Okura on the Okura River (North West of Waitangi proper) and Te Puke which was built on top of Maunga Te Puke.

Te Puke was the settlement of Toua, Te Peha, Te Tao, Taitua and others noted by Busby as belonging to Te Puke or Maturahurahu hapu, which along with Ngati Kawa became known as Ngati Rahiri. Several settlements were situated along the southern ridge extending northwards and include: Puke Unuwhao, O Kau Kau, Kawari. A network of tracks linked the settlements and subsidiary tracks linked kainga to mahinga kai and processing areas. Two ara also skirt Mr Bledisloe and connect the area with Waitangi and Haruru Falls. A find spot on the track (P05/539) indicates early Maori Pakeha contact. An 1827 painting by Augustus Earle ‘Distant View of the Bay of Islands’ depicts a landscape view of a group of Maori and European and ara on what is now Skyline road, and they appear to have stopped at a boundary pou or rahui post. The track that passes through the Waitangi Endowment Forest connected the Bay of Islands to Kororipo and the Kerikeri inlet area via Okura kainga; a branch of it lead to Taiamai and Waimate.

1942 aerial photographs indicate the presence of a number of stone alignments and mounds associated with traditional ancestral Maori horticulture on Maunga Te Puke and extending to the north and north west slopes and on lowland areas. The images also indicated that the Maunga Te Puke in particular, supported a large number of terraces and storage pits confirming the presence of complex pa and thus habitation clustering. Only small amounts of midden have been found on the higher reaches, suggesting greater reliance on horticultural produce and perhaps the processing of marine foodstuffs elsewhere, most likely nearer the foreshore areas around present day Hobsons Beach and Ki o Rahi area near Waitangi Bridge and boat launch.

There are at least 27 recorded archaeological sites in the Waitangi Endowment Forest alone. Approximately 31 were recorded in the National Reserve as of 1987. 28 of those sites were midden predominantly of tuangi (cockle) and pipi. Just south of the Treaty of Waitangi Meeting house midden and horticultural features were identified.

The known mahi huakanga (archaeology) types include:

- Kainga [Okura, Puke Unuwhao, Te Puke, Okaukau, Kawari, Te Arakanihi, Ruarangi/Te Ra]

- Multiple sets of midden and numerous postholes

- Storage pits [P05/547 & P05/550], stone mounds and alignments on the highland reaches and slopes

- Mara kai areas such as taro cultivation areas P05/511 & P05/580 & P05/573 which are described as clusters of taro plants and are a proxy for ancestral Maori occupation.

- Pa tuna - the repo contains (eel weirs) [P5/10]

- Ana/Caves including Ruarangi and Te Ana KauKau. There are also several tomo some of which have burials in them and lava tubes which have collapsed [these were surveyed by Andrew Blanshard of the Department of Conservation in 2010]. Outside the reserve area in what used to be the old Bayley Property there are numerous small caves, fissures and there is a high likelihood of burials there. Te Puke was reputed to have burials on its summit but which were removed circa 1834. Wairoa swamp reputedly contained koiwi.

- Burials have been found in the area where the present day yacht club stands, on the spur end at the north end of Wairoa Bay and along Te Wairoa Road

This suggests that the locale held the necessary resource attributes to sustain relatively large numbers of people. The footprint indicates a high level of resource exploitation and industry and perhaps a preference for settlement near the coast and riverine environs early on before moving to the interior and high ridges. The settlement pattern would suggest that settlements existed at Waitangi but may not have been occupied year-round. The settlement pattern would also suggest kin relationships between coastal settlements, highland kainga and outlying settlement zones at Pakaraka, Puketona and Kerikeri. In effect, tupuna have inscribed the land with tikanga and values which have been built up over time and succeeding generations, thus leaving us with a lasting ancestral footprint that we see as archaeological remnants.

Notable Features

Te Korowai o Maikuku Wharewaka, Whare Runanga, Treaty House

Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number






Completion Date

20th August 2015

Report Written By

Atareiria Heihei, Makere Rika-Heke, Xavier Forde

Information Sources

Waitangi Tribunal, 2014

Waitangi Tribunal, ‘He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti / The Declaration and the Treaty: The Report on Stage 1 of the Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry’, WAI 1040, Lower Hutt, 2014.

Other Information

A fully referenced report is available from the Maori Heritage team of the National Office in Wellington.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.