This Day in History – February 6th,

MāoriThe Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on February 6th, 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand.

The Treaty established a British Governor of New Zealand, recognised Māori ownership of their lands and other properties, and gave the Māori the rights of British subjects. The English and Māori versions of the Treaty differed significantly, so there is no consensus as to exactly what was agreed to. From the British point of view, the Treaty gave Britain sovereignty over New Zealand, and gave the Governor the right to govern the country. Māori believed they ceded to the Crown a right of governance in return for protection, without giving up their authority to manage their own affairs. After the initial signing at Waitangi, copies of the Treaty were taken around the North Island and over the following months many other chiefs signed. In total there are nine copies of the Treaty of Waitangi including the original signed on February 6th, 1840. Around 530 to 540 chiefs, at least 13 of them women, signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

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