A millenium ago Maori journeyed across the Pacific to live in this country they called Aotearoa. In the late 1700’s Europeans arrived and took up whaling and other occupations. On 6 February 1840 representatives of Maori and the British Crown signed the The Treaty of Waitangi, a document which existed in two forms: Maori and English, which we now know actually said slightly different things. That signing was the defining moment of New Zealand’s history. Some key points follow.
Article The First
The Chiefs … cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty … over their respective Territories …
Article The Second
Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand … the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess …
Article The Third
In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.
Done at Waitangi this Sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.