Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi, is considered Aotearoa/New Zealand's founding document, an agreement between Māori and the Crown.
It was signed on February 6, 1840, at Waitangi, by Governor William Hobson, on behalf of Queen Victoria, and 43 Māori rangatira (chiefs) who gathered there on that day.
After each chief signed, Hobson announced, "He iwi tahi tātou" or "We are now one people".
The document then travelled around the country. Some iwi never signed up, but eventually around 540 rangatira gave their signature; crucially, about 500 of those signing Te Tiriti – the Māori version.
Differences between the two texts have led to the greatest of debates in New Zealand's history.
The conflict started when on February 4, at about 4pm, Henry Williams, head of the Church Mission Society and a missionary since 1823, was given the immense task of translating the English text into Māori, all before 10am the following day.
That short timeframe is relevant because conflicting interpretations have long been the subject of debate, and protest, as Māori argued for the terms of Te Tiriti to be upheld.
The differing views between Māori and the Crown are also believed to be one of the underlying causes of the New Zealand Land Wars.
Te Tiriti versus The Treaty
The document itself has three articles, covering sovereignty, land and rights.
Article 1 discusses concepts of governance/kāwanatanga, and sovereignty/mana motuhake.
In the Māori text of article 1, Māori gave the British "kāwanatanga", the right of governance, whereas in the English text, Māori ceded "sovereignty".
As a result, Māori believed they were giving up the right to govern New Zealand citizens, both Māori and any other ethnicity living here, but retaining the right to manage their own affairs.
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Some argue if the original translation of "sovereignty" remained as "mana motuhake" it's likely the Treaty would not have been signed by chiefs.
A 2014 Waitangi Tribunal decision on the Ngāpuhi claim supported this interpretation.
Article 2 addresses property and ownership rights.
The Māori version uses the term "tino rangatiratanga" in promising the tribes full authority over their lands and taonga, resources like fisheries, cultural practices like haka and the language – te reo Māori.
In the English text, though, the Queen guaranteed to Māori the "undisturbed possession" of such properties, for as long as they wished to retain them.
Article 2 also provided for land sales to be effected through the Crown. This gave the Crown the right of pre-emption in land sales.
Article 3 deals with rights and equality, granting both partners, Tangata Whenua (Māori) and Tangata Tiriti (Pākehā and all others to make New Zealand home) equal rights in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Where does this all leave us?
These crucial differences in interpretations of the texts, Treaty breaches by the Crown and confiscations of land, led to much protest by Māori, eventually paving the way to the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975.
Under this legislation, the Waitangi Tribunal was formed and tasked with determining the meaning and effect of the Treaty for the purposes of inquiring into Māori claims of breaches of the Treaty.
Since 1985 there have been more than 90 settlements for iwi regarding breaches of the Treaty, worth more than $2.4 billion, although experts have argued these represent less than a cent on the dollar in terms of actual loss.
With the end of the historical Treaty settlement process in sight, the Government has launched a new ministry, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, to take the relationship from settling grievances to true partnerships, as envisaged by the Treaty.
What's on in Tāmaki Makaurau this Waitangi Day
• Waitangi ki Manukau – Head down to Hayman Park in Manukau from 9am to 5pm for a family-friendly day out, featuring music by Three Houses Down and General Fiyah, Aaradhna, 1814, Sammy J and more, along with culture, te reo Māori, kōrero and kai.
• Waitangi at Waititi – Hoani Waititi Marae in Glen Eden will play host to some of New Zealand's finest musicians: Katchafire, KORA, Ardijah, 1814, Troy Kingi, Rei, Pieter T & Deach, Che Fu and the Crates, Foundation, Howie Morrison Jnr and Dj Rocky Ponting. There'll also be kai stalls, misting tents and rides for the tamariki. 9am to 5pm.
• North Shore Summer Vibes – Enjoy Waitangi celebrations on the North Shore from 10am to 4pm at this new event at Awataha Marae, Northcote, including music from Kings, Savage, Shasta and more along with a range of market stalls.
• Waitangi Day ki Okahu - Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in conjunction with Auckland Council will be hosting a fun and informative day out at Ōkahu Bay, Ōrākei, from 10am to 3pm. This free, family-friendly, community event will feature live performances from some amazing New Zealand musicians, along with delicious food stalls, arts and craft stalls, games and activities, hauora (health) information and exhibitions for kids and the whole whānau.