Photographs believed to be from Waitangi Day commemorations in 1940, and brought into the Northern Advocate this week, have turned out to be even older than originally thought.

Ian Gillespie brought in the photographs from his mother's photograph album and thought they could be from 1940, as he knew his parents went there that year for the 100th commemorations.

We asked readers if they had any further information and were inundated with responses, with the photographs also generating interest on the Te Mana o Te Reo Maori Facebook page - a private group for speakers of te reo.

Our inquiries have revealed they are actually from February 6, 1934, when Governor General Lord Bledisloe and Lady Bledisloe gifted the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to the nation after they bought the land.


It was also the first time that Waitangi Day was formally celebrated on the site where the Treaty was signed.

Waitangi Museum curator Kate Martin said the 1934 gifting ceremony was a massive event for the Bay of Islands, with around 10,000 people turning up, including delegations from many iwi around the country.

"That's a huge number of people, especially when you consider that the roads in those days were not the best to travel on," she said. "That's also when Lord Bledisloe unveiled the foundation stone for the whare runanga."

One of the photos was of Te Arawa leader Mita Taupopoki. Another of the photographs showed Lord and Lady Bledisloe being led on to the treaty grounds.

Mr Gillespie said it was amazing so much information had been found so quickly and the people in the photographs identified.

"It was worthwhile bringing them in then. I didn't realise my parents went there that early."