The Journey of the Treaty

Friday, February 5, 2016
The Waitangi Sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi

Waitangi Day, on February 6, marked 176 years of the signing since the Treaty of Waitangi, the much contested founding document of New Zealand.

The first copy of the Treaty of Waitangi/te Tiriti o Waitangi was first signed on February 6, 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and more than 40 rangatira (Māori chiefs).

After the initial signing, that copy and another eight copies, all but one written in Māori, were taken around New Zealand, mostly by ship. There were around 50 signing meetings across the country between February and September 1840, at which many other chiefs signed.

In total between 530 and 540 Māori signed a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi, but not all chiefs signed and so not all iwi were represented. Some refused, others were simply not in the mostly coastal areas where the signing meetings were held.

An animated map on the Treaty 2 U website shows the places the copies of the treaty were taken in 1840 for signing. 

Treaty 2 U Signing locations video

This list shows where and when each copy (or “sheet”) was signed:

The Waitangi Sheet

Waitangi, February 6, 1840
Bay of Islands, Date unknown
Bay of Islands probably, Date unknown
Waimate North, February 9-10, 1840
Mangungu, February 12, 1840
Bay of Islands, February 17, 1840
Karaka Bay, March 4, 1840
Kaitāia, April 28, 1840
Bay of Islands, May 13(?), 1840
Karaka Bay(?), July 9, 1840
Russell, August 5, 1840

The Manukau-Kāwhia Sheet

Manukau, March 20, 1840
Kāwhia, April 28, 1840
Kāwhia, May 21, 1840
Kāwhia, May 25, 1840
Kāwhia, June 15, 1840
Kāwhia, August 27, 1840
Kāwhia, September 3, 1840

The Waikato-Manukau Sheet

Waikato Heads, Late March or early April 1840
Manukau Harbour, April 26, 1840

The Printed Sheet

Waikato, Date unknown

The Tauranga Sheet

Tauranga, April 10-May, 1840

The Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) Sheet

Ōpōtiki, May 27-28, 1840
Tōrere, June 11, 1840
Te Kaha, June 14, 1840
Tōrere, June 14, 1840
Whakatāne, June 16, 1840

The Herald (Bunbury) Sheet

Coromandel, May 4, 1840
Mercury Island, May 7, 1840
Akaroa, May 30, 1840
Ruapuke, June 10, 1840
Otago Heads, June 13, 1840
Cloudy Bay, June 17, 1840
Mana Island, June 19, 1840
Hawke's Bay, June 24, 1840

The Cook Strait (Henry Williams) Sheet

Port Nicholson, April 29, 1840
Queen Charlotte Sound, May 4–5, 1840
Rangitoto, May 11, 1840
Kapiti?, May 14, 1840
Ōtaki?, May 19, 1840
Tawhirihoe, May 21, 1840
Manawatū, May 26, 1840
Waikanae, May 16, 1840
Whanganui, May 31, 1840
Whanganui, May 23, 1840
Motungārara, June 4, 1840

The East Coast Sheet

Tūranga, May 5-12, 1840
Ūawa, May 16-17, 1840
Whakawhitira Waiapu, May 25-31, 1840
Rangitukia Waiapu, June 1, 1840
Tokomaru, June 9, 1840

For more information visit:

NZ History - Treaty of Waitangi

Te Ara - Treaty of Waitangi

Treaty 2 U