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Learn about historical documents such as He Whakaputanga o Nui Tireni, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as well as The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the future of constitutional change through Matike Mai.

He Whakaputanga

He Whakaputanga

He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni was the first official document signed by rangatira and the Crown in 1835, yet it is little known in comparison to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Keep reading to find more resources. 

Articles in a sentence

  1. Te Wakaminenga - Declares that the rangatira are the leaders of the country 'Te Wakaminenga o Ngā Hapū o Nu Tireni': the Sacred Confederation of Tribes of New Zealand

  2. Tino rangatiratanga - Affirms that all rangatira who have signed hold sovereignty over their land and no one else has the authority to make laws.

  3. Rūnanga - Agrees that the rangatira will meet each year to make decisions, and invites southern tribes to join them. 

  4. Matua - The rangatira ask for the protection of the King of England. 



Articles and books

Commisioned by Kuia and Kaumātua of Ngāpuhi 

An independent report about He Wakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (1835) & Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840). It summarises and assesses the Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu evidence given at the Initial Hearing of their Waitangi Tribunal claim.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

What is the difference between Te Tiriti and The Treaty? What are the articles? How does it apply to us today? The resources below can help to answer some of these questions. Te Tiriti o Waitangi the most important document for Tangata Tiriti living in Aotearoa. One of the most common misconceptions is that Te Tiriti is about Māori, but really it is about the limits of Crown power and how Tangata Tiriti are able to be in Aotearoa, and what our responsiblilities are.
Matike Mai

Translations - read Te Tiriti: 

The whole treaty is less than a page, it is totally worth reading it if you haven't before. Make sure to look at a more recently translated version, rather than the original English version to properly understand Te Tiriti. Below is an awesome reading guide made by Tamaki Treaty Workers, and a comparison of the original and newly translated English versions (with notes) by Hugh Kauwharu. 


TREATY 2 U tells the story of New Zealand’s founding document: the Treaty of Waitangi. It covers the events that led up to the Treaty. It explains what is written in the documents, and the crucial differences between the Māori and English versions.


A 7 part educational TV show depicting reenactments of the events leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document.


Resources from the Treaty and anti-racism movements, events and actions from the 1960s to today. Make sure to have a look at the historical overview and the true/false quiz. 

Exerpts from a museum exhibition on Te Tiriti, as well as He Wakaputanga and Womens Suffrage Petition. It looks at the history of these documents and provides links to other great resources. 

Inspired by an epiphany at the Waitangi Treaty grounds in 2000, and after learning New Zealand’s founding document was actually several pieces of paper, comedian Mike King went on a quest to learn the stories behind Te Tiriti O Waitangi. 

Episode 4 of this podcast and video series focuses on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as part of telling the story of New Zealand and its people from its geological origins to modern day. 

Many websites on our history have pages about Te Tiriti o Waitangi, giving an overview of its background, who wrote it, who signed it, what each version says and much more. 

Archives New Zealand

Te Ara

New Zealand History

Waitangi Tribunal


By Ross Calman, Mark Derby and Toby Morris

This graphic novel provides a fresh approach to the story of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. It covers a wide time span, from the arrival of Polynesian explorers to the signing of Te Tiriti, to the New Zealand Wars, and through to the modern-day Treaty settlement process.

By Claudia Orange 

Claudia Orange’s writing on the Treaty has contributed to New Zealanders’ understanding of this history for over thirty years. In this new edition of her popular illustrated history, Dr Orange brings the narrative of Te Tiriti up to date, covering major developments in iwi claims and Treaty settlements.

The sovereignty of rangatira guaranteed in both He Wakaputanga and Te Tiriti has and is disregarded by the kāwanatanga - Crown, including in its current form of government. Meaningful change cannot be create from within the system, how do we change the system? How can we change the way this country is governed in order to uphold Tino Rangatiratanga? What kind of constitution coud encourage this governance? Matike Mai seeks to answer some of these questions. 

Matike Mai

Matike Mai is an independent working group on constitutional change first imagined by Iwi Chairs Forum in 2010. Moana Jackon and Margaret Mutu then led a series of over 200 hui around the country "To develop and implement a model for an inclusive Constitution for Aotearoa based on tikanga and kawa, He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni of 1835, Te Tiriti o Waitangi of 1840, and other indigenous human rights instruments which enjoy a wide degree of international recognition." They then wrote a report on their findings, covering constitutional nature, foundations, values, visions, and recommendations. Several models for a new form of governance are suggested, mostly involving a Kāwanatanga Sphere, an iwi and hapū sphere and a relational sphere.

Constitutional values 

- Tikanga

- Community

- Belonging

- Place

- Balance

- Conciliation

- Structure

- Wellbeing of Rangi and Papa

- Mana Motuhake

- Traditional knowledge

- Kotahi Aroha

- Education, health and wellbeing

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The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted in 2007. New Zealand originally voted against it, but has since signed. The 46 articles in this document give rights to all indigenous peoples in the countries that have agreed to it.
Edited by Selwyn Katene and Rawiri Taonui

A sharp assessment of how New Zealand is meeting its obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, this book reflects on the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and examines its relevance in New Zealand.

This webinar unpacks international rights in UNDRIP: to self-determination, to lands, territories and resources, and to culture, and explores challenges and current progress.

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