Treaty of Waitangi
In the late 1830s, there were approximately 125,000 Māori in New Zealand and about 2000 settlers. More immigrants were arriving all the time though, and Captain William Hobson was sent to act for the British Crown in the negotiation of a treaty between the Crown and Māori.
On 6 February 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands by Hobson, several English residents, and approximately 45 Māori rangatira, Hone Heke being the first. The Māori text of the Treaty was then taken around Northland to obtain additional Māori signatures and copies were sent around the rest of the country for signing, but the English text was signed only at Waikato Heads and at Manukau by 39 rangatira. By the end of that year, over 500 Māori had signed the Treaty.
The Treaty of Waitangi is now on permanent display in the constitution room of the National Archives in Wellington.
Historical information kindly provided by the Waitangi Tribunal.