Read the Treaty

New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was prepared over just a few days in February 1840. On the day that it was first signed, there were versions in English and Maori. See also a pdf version with explanatory footnotes by Professor Hugh Kawharu.

English text

HER MAJESTY VICTORIA Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland regarding with Her Royal Favor the Native Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and anxious to protect their just Rights and Property and to secure to them the enjoyment of Peace and Good Order has deemed it necessary in consequence of the great number of Her Majesty’s Subjects who have already settled in New Zealand and the rapid extension of Emigration both from Europe and Australia which is still in progress to constitute and appoint a functionary properly authorized to treat with the Aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty’s Sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands – Her Majesty therefore being desirous to establish a settled form of Civil Government with a view to avert the evil consequences which must result from the absence of the necessary Laws and Institutions alike to the native population and to Her subjects has been graciously pleased to empower and to authorize me William Hobson a Captain in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy Consul and Lieutenant-Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may be or hereafter shall be ceded to her Majesty to invite the confederated and independent Chiefs of New Zealand to concur in the following Articles and Conditions.

Article the first [Article 1]

The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.

Article the second [Article 2]

Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the third [Article 3]

In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.

(signed) William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor.

Now therefore We the Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand being assembled in Congress at Victoria in Waitangi and We the Separate and Independent Chiefs of New Zealand claiming authority over the Tribes and Territories which are specified after our respective names, having been made fully to understand the Provisions of the foregoing Treaty, accept and enter into the same in the full spirit and meaning thereof in witness of which we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified. Done at Waitangi this Sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.

Brooke van Velden: Jacinda Ardern’s political ‘failure’ self-inflicted

NZ Herald
When Jacinda Ardern first led Labour, she was wrapped in "rapturous support". Photo / Getty Images

When Jacinda Ardern first led Labour, she was wrapped in “rapturous support”. Photo / Getty Images


All political careers end in failure. We hear it a lot, it’s a cut-down version of British politician Enoch Powell’s quote “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs”.

Jacinda Ardern gives her valedictory statement to Parliament today. She came in with great promises. Her Government would be kind, open and transparent, the housing crisis would be fixed, climate change solved in “her generation’s nuclear-free moment”, and child poverty dealt with.

Sadly, none of her promises came true. Some of them now seem ironic. “The most open and transparent Government” is a joke after the past week. Perhaps Powell was right, failure was inevitable?

That would be depressing, but it can’t be true. The world is a better place than it was when Powell spoke 50 years ago. That’s especially true for women, then less than half a dozen women had led a democracy. Now electorates frequently elect us to lead.

I’ve never understood why people hated Ardern. I’ve copped a bit of abuse for saying that she is not a bad person, in fact a very good person who was overwhelmed by the nature of politics and human affairs. I don’t hate her, what would that achieve?

There are strong and legitimate criticisms of Ardern. They need to be said to avoid more of the same mediocre outcomes. New Zealand needs a practical approach to governing, rather than a marketing approach.

Nowhere was Jacinda’s superhuman goodness, and failure to deliver, more on display than March 15 and the weeks following.

Her empathy, wearing that scarf and hugging victims’ families made her an international superstar. While the rest of the world was working out how the most powerful country picked Donald Trump’s nasty divisiveness, Jacinda gave hope. Her retort to Trump when he asked how he could help – send “sympathy and love for all Muslim communities”, was vintage Ardern. Strong, kind, and unmistakable all at once.

Then came a classic Ardern foible. When she first led Labour, she was wrapped in rapturous support. She announced a capital gains tax, then spent two years walking it back. After March 15, she was internationally acclaimed, and another captain’s call followed.

She announced all guns used in the attack would be banned. In total, 240,000 were banned and 60,000 collected. There are now 180,000 centre-fire semi-automatic firearms unaccounted for, and a licensed firearm community who should be the police’s eyes and ears feel marginalised and distrustful. We are less safe from firearms.

The pattern has largely repeated itself. If the 2017 election was about one thing, it was the failure of a country with so much land to provide enough warm dry homes. Today the biggest improvement the Government can point to is people have moved from cars to motels.

Nowhere was Jacinda’s superhuman goodness, and failure to deliver, more on display than March 15. Photo / Alan Gibson
Nowhere was Jacinda’s superhuman goodness, and failure to deliver, more on display than March 15. Photo / Alan Gibson

The problem again is marketing over substance. When KiwiBuild was launched, none other than Dave Dobbyn, now Sir Dave, played Welcome Home. Having the Government build homes was never going to solve the underlying problem. Reforming infrastructure funding and resource management was, and is, the right answer. We just lost six years while the problem got worse.

Child poverty did reduce, from around 13 per cent material hardship, to around 11 per cent. That is important, but benefit dependency is up. The improvements were achieved by transferring taxpayer money, not a stronger economy or stronger resilience. It was not only a practical failure, but a failure of values that got us here.

The same can be said in regard to climate change. The nuclear-free moment powered by Indonesian coal. Coal imports tripled; it would be smarter to keep using natural gas that emits less carbon for the same amount of energy but that industry was attacked, too. Again, the difference between sounding good and doing good.

New Zealand is a less united place today. Ardern’s sheer bloody-mindedness over vaccination led to the worst conflict since the Springbok Tour when the simple answer was to require vaccination or a negative test to participate in work and everyday activities. While Ardern was saying “if you want to do x, y, or z, get vaccinated,” the Government was actively stopping the import of rapid antigen tests.

The division over race is far worse, and will be more difficult to turn around. One constant in Ardern’s legacy is the work of Labour’s Māori caucus to ensure everything the Government does divides people into tangata whenua – land people here by right, and Tangata Tiriti – Treaty people here by the grace of the Treaty.

If Labour had one founding value everyone should support, it was universal human rights and liberal democracy. Now the Government has spent six years telling New Zealanders that their race defines their role in public affairs from healthcare to Three Waters governance. Making sense of the Treaty in a modern, multi-ethnic, liberal democratic state is now essential for the next Government.

All political careers end in failure, maybe. But Jacinda’s unique combination of superhuman emotional intelligence and abysmal practical problem-solving brought failure on herself. The next Government must learn the lessons she unwittingly taught us, and reunite this country behind ideas that actually work.