Opinions on the Treaty of Waitangi

At the time of the Signing

Mr James Busby's view on the Treaty of Waitangi

Mr James Busby was the British Resident of New Zealand between 1833 and 1840. This made him a sort of Governor-General but without any real power, earning him the nickname 'Man o' War without guns'. In 1835, James Busby convinced a number of Maori chiefs to sign a Declaration of Independence. This made it easier for the British to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, as the Maori were now able to see themselves as the same people. In early 1840, Mr Busby helped Mr William Hobson to write the treaty.


Mr Busby's opinion on the treaty was that it was good for the English and the Maori to have the treaty signed, but felt like he was getting no credit for all the work he had put in, as he was losing his job with the signing of the treaty. He also put lots of effort into the writing of the treaty, and again felt all his work was being ignored.

He believed the treaty was good for the English because it would establish some control over the settlers and whalers, as well as set down laws on lands and rights. He also believed the Maori needed the British to teach them civilised ways, as he saw them as a savage barbaric people.

Te Ruki Kawiti's view on the Treaty of Waitangi

Te Ruki Kawiti (nicknamed The Duke), was a powerful chief among the Ngapuhi tribe. He was most likely born in the 1770s, and was a notable chief, warrior and skilled tactician.

In 1840, when Hobson arrived, Kawiti vigorously refused British rule, refusing to sign on Waitangi Day (February 6th 1840), however signed three months later after his own people pressured him into it.


He did not believe that British rule was right as the Maori had always ruled themselves, and he believed that in signing the treaty he would be giving away his lands, his rights, his taonga and his mana.


He fought against British rule in the war alongside Hone Heke (1845-46) when Hone Heke allegedly cut down the flagpole four times. The war ended in Heke and Kawiti negotiating a peace, despite having won victories over the British.

Te Ruki Kawiti died at Waimio in 1854.