Treaty of Waitangi

Contrasting Perspectives

William Colenso

William Colenso was the Church mission printer and he was present at the 6th February treaty signing and many years after the event (1890), he published his experience/eyewitness account of the event as the The authentic and genuine history of the signing of the treaty.

William Colenso printed out copies of the treaty and he cautiously pointed out that the maori and the english versions didn't say the same thing. For the Maori; 'undisturbed possession of land and property' and for Britain; 'sovereignty and for the British to be able to claim land and property'. Colenso wanted a treaty signed to protect the maori from alcohol and prostitution, lawlessness, of the english but to also ensure that the British didn't take too much of their land and their rights.

However, he was unhappy / disconsolate with the handling of the treaty. He was present the day of the signing and he pointed out that the different versions of the treaty's didn't say the same thing, but he did sign it. He was also at Waitangi a day after the event and complained to the British authorities that James Busby and Henry Williams didn't translate the maori copy correctly. He warned the maori not to sign it because Busby and Williams changed the writing when translating it, to make it sound more appealing (to ensure they would sign it). The maori didn't believe him. So, in the end, they signed it.

But he was neutral (for and against the treaty), he was wanting it to be signed to ensure the British didn't effect the maori with lawlessness (alcohol, drugs and prostitution), but he wasn't impressed with how it was handled on the day (how the treaty's weren't translated with the same meaning (different promises for the different people)).

After the day, Colenso wrote a detailed journal of what had happened that day and published it so people would know the truth about the treaty of Waitangi.

Te Kemara

Te Kemara was a maori chief who had become Christian. Yet, he was a French Christian Catholic and didn't trust the British, only the French, because they didn't buy as much land as the British did when they settled into New Zealand. But also there weren't as many French in NZ at the time of the treaty signing.

Te Kemara was furious with Henry Williams which lead him to dislike the British because Williams had brought a lot of land illegally off the maori tribes. But to make things even worse between them, the treaty debate was held on some land owned by Williams that he illegally bought from one of Te Kemara's people.

Te Kemara was one of the first maori chiefs to stand up and speak, sharing his opinion at the treaty debates. He wanted the British to leave New Zealand and said "No! No! No! I shall never say "yes" to the Pakeha staying in our country and claiming our land and our people as their own!" Some of the other leaders may have said say, 'we are all to be equal, the maoris and the english', hoping Te Kemara would give in. "No! No! No! My land is gone, gone, all gone. The inheritances of my ancestors, fathers, relatives are all gone, stolen. The missionaries have it all. Williams and Busby have my land! The land we are on now is my land! This land is mine! Return my land!"

From this, it proves that Te Kemara didn't want the British taking over because of the disagreements that he had encountered with some of the english leaders, but the fact that he was a French Catholic Christian, would've had an effect on his choice, to stand up for his religion. He didn't trust the British, only the French, this would have made his decision final. He did have a strong point with wanting to keep his land but he then may have given some to the French if the treaty wasn't signed and they took over New Zealand. But then again, this could've gone either way.

In the end, Te Kemara eventually signed the treaty after being intensely pressured by other chiefs to sign it.

The Treaty of Waitangi Signing

Thursday, Feb. 6th 1840 at 8am-4pm

1 Tau Henare Drive


Signing of the treaty, British crown and Maori iwi final agreement of New Zealand.