Distinguished historian Claudia Orange says latest Treaty settlements kind a revolutionary pathway in direction of true partnership in Aotearoa. In an extract from the up-to-date version of her award-winning e book The Treaty of Waitangi / Te Tiriti o Waitangi: An Illustrated Historical past, she vividly describes the gathering and debate at Waitangi on the day earlier than rangatira started to signal the Treaty.
OPINION: Letters, reviews and diaries left by ofﬁcials and missionaries present an excellent document of the occasions of 5 and 6 February. From early on the fifth, Māori teams started to reach. The waters of the Bay of Islands got here alive with waka converging from all instructions, every with thirty or extra paddlers retaining time to the stroke. Settlers’ boats joined the stream, and the ships anchored offshore had all their ﬂags ﬂying.
Summer season showers had cleared and the day was brilliantly ﬁne; cicadas shrilled noisily. Exterior the Residency grounds, stalls had been set as much as promote refreshments – pork, chilly roasts, pies, baskets of bread, and stout, ale, brandy and rum. Particular provisions had been prepared for Māori company – half a ton of ﬂour, ﬁve tons of potatoes, thirty pigs and different items.
On the garden in entrance of the Residency, the ofﬁcers of the [ship] Herald had erected a big marquee; 35 to 45 metres in size, it was fabricated from ships’ sails and adorned with ﬂags. A sergeant and three troopers of the New South Wales mounted police, who had arrived on the Herald, paraded of their scarlet uniforms. A whole lot of Māori sat in teams, smoking and speaking. Some had come lengthy distances and carried weapons. Little events of Europeans strolled up and down – ofﬁcers from the Herald, missionaries, merchants, sailors. The gang buzzed with pleasure within the gala environment.
At about 9am [William] Hobson, in full uniform, stepped ashore on Waitangi seaside. Accompanied by the captain of the Herald, Joseph Nias, he walked up the hill to the Residency. There, with [James] Busby and Henry Williams, he regarded over the interpretation of the English draft treaty which Williams had produced in a single day. With no information of te reo Māori, Hobson couldn’t inform if the interpretation was correct and needed to depend on Busby and Williams. With the English treaty alongside the te reo ‘translation’, Busby made 5 modifications to the te reo draft, utilizing the phrase w[h]akaminenga somewhat than huihuinga for ‘confederation’, earlier than he and Williams had been satisﬁed. Hobson then formally greeted native Europeans, together with the Catholic Bishop Pompallier, as they ﬁled by way of the Residency.
Late within the morning, the ofﬁcial occasion moved in procession from the home to the marquee. On a raised platform at one finish, Hobson sat down at a desk coated with the Union flag; others took up positions wherever they may. The tent ﬁlled quickly, with greater than 2 hundred rangatira taking over the principle area. William Colenso, the printer on the close by Paihia mission station, wrote an account of the scene:
“In entrance of the platform, within the foreground, had been the principal Native chiefs of a number of tribes, some clothed with dogskin mats fabricated from alternate longitudinal stripes of black and white hair; others habited in splendid-looking new woollen cloaks of international manufacture, of crimson, blue, brown, and plaid, and, certainly, of each shade of hanging color . . . whereas some had been wearing plain European and a few in frequent Native clothes . . . right here and there a . . . taiaha, a chief’s workers of rank, was seen erected, adorned with the lengthy ﬂowing white hair of the tails of the New Zealand canine and crimson fabric and purple feathers.”
Felton Mathew, Hobson’s Appearing Surveyor-Common, commented that the ladies among the many chiefs had ‘their ears adorned with white feathers or the whole wing of a fowl’. Shiny daylight picked out the vivid colors of the ﬂags, and Mathew wrote that he would always remember the scene to the day he died.
A hush fell as Hobson started to talk. First he addressed the few dozen Europeans who had been standing towards the partitions of the marquee, brieﬂy explaining what he was about to do. Then he turned to the assembled Māori to speak in regards to the treaty. He spoke in English, with Henry Williams translating, whereas Colenso recorded his phrases and the talk that adopted.
Hobson mentioned that the British individuals had been free to go wherever they selected, and that the Queen (Victoria) was at all times prepared to guard them. Due to her concern for the welfare of each Māori and European, he had been despatched as Governor; however because the nation was outdoors the Queen’s dominion he lacked the authority wanted to regulate British topics. ‘’Her Majesty the Queen asks you to signal this Treaty,’’ he mentioned, ‘and so give Her that energy which shall allow Her to restrain them.’’ He continued: ‘’I’ll provide you with time to contemplate the proposal I’ll now give you. What I want you to do is expressly on your personal good as you’ll quickly see by the Treaty. You yourselves have typically requested the King to increase his safety. Her Majesty now provides that safety on this Treaty.’’
Hobson concluded by studying the textual content of the treaty in English.
Williams now learn the Māori ‘translation’ of the treaty, which rangatira had been being requested to comply with; he mentioned later that he had advised them to hear fastidiously. He defined every half to them and warned them to not be in a rush. He assured them that the missionaries ‘’totally authorised of the treaty, that it was an act of affection in direction of them on the a part of the Queen, who desired to safe to them their property, rights, and privileges’’. Hinting at French curiosity in New Zealand, he mentioned that the treaty could be like ‘’a fortress for them towards any international energy which could want to take possession of their nation’’.
For over ﬁve hours, by way of the warmth of the day, greater than thirty rangatira spoke for and towards the treaty. These had been males from the northern iwi and hapū, primarily from the Bay of Islands and its hinterland. Their predominant considerations had been about their authority, their land and commerce dealings. Colenso took tough notes of eighteen of the three dozen audio system, capturing a lot of the dialogue and translating Māori speeches as he did so. The next account relies on his notes.
“Te Kemara of Ngāti Kahu, on whose land they had been assembly, rose to talk first, as was customary. ‘I can’t consent to your remaining right here on this nation . . . Had been all to be on an equality, then maybe Te Kemara would say, “Sure”. However for the Governor to be up and Te Kemara down low. No.’
“Rewa of Ngāi Tawake took up the talk: ‘The Māori individuals don’t desire a governor! We aren’t whites or foreigners. It’s true that we’ve offered a few of our lands. However this nation is ours! We’re the Governor – we the chiefs of this our fathers’ land.’ Kawiti of Ngāti Hine and others echoed his feedback.
“‘Governor,’ mentioned Hakiro, striding up and down, ‘some may let you know to remain right here, however I say this isn’t the place for you. We aren’t your individuals. We’re free. We don’t need you, so return, return, stroll away.’ He was talking on behalf of the deceased Titore of Ngāti Nanenane.
“Tareha of Ngāti Rēhia joined in: ‘We chiefs are the rulers and we received’t be dominated over. If we had been all to have a rank equal to you that is likely to be acceptable. But when we’re going to be subordinate to you, then I say get again to your ship and sail away.’ Tall and really strong with a deep voice, Tareha made a hanging impression on the entire viewers.
“Many objected strongly to the land purchases that Europeans had made, referring particularly to Busby and a number of other of the missionaries. Hobson promised that every one lands unjustly bought could be returned to their Māori homeowners.
“‘That’s good, Governor,’ mentioned Moka. ‘That’s correctly. However we’ll see what occurs. Who will actually take heed to you? Who’s going to obey you? The lands received’t be returned.’
“Uneasy in regards to the assault on the missionaries, Williams defended the purchases and defined to the Europeans current that every one land gross sales earlier than 1840 had been going to be investigated. Hobson had already introduced this at a big assembly of Europeans held at Kororāreka on 30 January. Moka had attended the assembly however nonetheless had severe doubts about Hobson’s guarantees.
“Wai of Ngāti Tāwake rose and requested: ‘What’s going to you do about commerce dealings, and the dishonest, mendacity and stealing of the whites?’ He complained about Pākehā middlemen who purchased up Māori produce cheaply to promote at inﬂated costs; he additionally touched on one other matter that deeply angered the Māori individuals: ‘Yesterday I used to be cursed by a white man. Is that the way in which issues are going to be?’
“Over the hours of debate, Hobson sensed that the sensation of the assembly was operating towards him. Just a few had welcomed him. Rawiri Taiwhanga of Ngāti Tautahi, one of many ﬁrst Christian converts, was one. ‘It’s an excellent factor that you’ve got come to be a governor for us,’ he mentioned. ‘For those who keep we can have peace.’ Hone Heke of Te Matarahurahu was one other. ‘Governor,’ he mentioned, ‘stick with us and be like a father. For those who go away then the French or the rum sellers will take us Māori over. How can we all know what the longer term will deliver? For those who keep we could be “all as one” with you and the missionaries.’
“Then the Hokianga chief, Tamati Waka Nene of Ngāti Hao, rose and turned in direction of the gathering of rangatira. ‘I’m going to talk ﬁrst to you. A few of you inform Hobson to go. However that’s not going to unravel our difﬁculties. We’ve already offered a lot of our land right here within the north. We’ve no approach of controlling the Europeans who’ve settled on it. I’m amazed to listen to you telling him to go! Why didn’t you inform the merchants and grog-sellers to go years in the past? There are too many Europeans right here now and there are kids that unite each our races.’
He checked out Hobson. ‘Don’t be too involved with what these others are saying. We want you as a buddy, a decide, a peacemaker and as governor. You need to protect our customs, and by no means allow our lands to be taken from us.’ Nene’s elder brother, Eruera Maihi Patuone, agreed, with the remark that it was preferable to have the British somewhat than the French.
“Then Te Kemara leapt up and fired a final problem: ‘No! Return to your personal land. It will be all proper if we had been going to be equal in rank and energy, but when you’re going to be above us, I say no. Will we find yourself like this?’ and he crossed his wrists as if handcuffed. Full of life and excitable, he immediately ran as much as Hobson, seized Hobson’s hand, shook it again and again, and roared out in English: ‘How d’ye do, eh, Governor? How d’ye do, eh, Mister Governor?’ ”
Everybody – Māori and Pākehā – was convulsed with laughter, and Hobson determined it was an excellent time to adjourn the assembly.
The Treaty of Waitangi / Te Tiriti o Waitangi: An Illustrated Historical past is printed by Bridget Williams Books.