Notes on Early Life in New Zealand
The Treaty of Waitangi.
6th February, 1840.
“Her Majesty, Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, regarding with her Royal favour the native Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and anxious to protect their just rights and property, and to secure to them the enjoyment of peace and good order, has deemed it necessary (in consequence of the great number of Her Majesty's subjects who have already settled in New Zealand, and the rapid extension of emigration both from Europe and Australia which is still in progress) to constitute and appoint a functionary properly authorized to treat with the aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands. Her Majesty therefore being desirous to establish a settled form of civil government, with a view to avert the evil consequences which must result from the absence of the necessary laws and institutions, alike to the native population and to her subjects, has been graciously pleased to empower and to authorize me, William Hobson, a Captain in Her Majesty's Navy, Consul and Lieutenant-Governor over such parts of New Zealand as may be, or hereafter shall be, ceded to Her Majesty, to invite the confederated and independent Chiefs of New Zealand to concur in the following articles and conditions:—
“1. The Chiefs of the Confederation of the united Tribes of New Zealand, and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation, cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England, absolutely and without reservation, all the rights and powers of sovereignty which the said Confederation or independent Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or possess, over their respective territories, as the sole sovereigns thereof.”
“2. Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and to the respective families and individuals thereof, the full, exclusive, and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess, so long as it is their wish and desire to page 101 retain the same in their possession: But the Chiefs of the united Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of pre-emption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate, at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.”
“3. 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.”
This short treaty was duly signed by Captain Hobson, and by the assembled Chiefs, and attested as “Done at Waitangi, this 6th day of February, in the year of our Lord, 1840;” with the following addition:— “Now, therefore, we, the Chiefs of the Confederation of the united Tribes of New Zealand, being assembled in congress at Victoria in Waitangi, and we, the separate and independent Chiefs of New Zealand, claiming authority over the Tribes and territories which are specified after our respective names, having been made fully to understand the provisions of the foregoing treaty, accept and enter into the same in the full spirit and meaning thereof, in witness of which we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified.”
Of the forty-six who signed the treaty at first, twenty-six had signed the Declaration of Independence in 1835. In both cases they had been stirred by desire to keep the French from their land, and to obtain English protection. In both they had the sympathy of their English resident friends.