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Te Tiriti O Waitangi – The Treaty Of Waitangi

Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi

Kia Ora!

My name is Beth and I’m on a mission to learn, grow and share my love and understanding of all things Māori.

Hirini Melborne – Waitangi te tiriti.

As a child growing up in small town South Island NZ, I learnt very little about the Treaty of Waitangi. All I knew was that it was a document signed by the Crown and by Māori a long time ago (1840).

My childhood memories were of the news on TV of Waitangi day itself, the 6th of February and how it ignited a lot of emotions (and if I’m honest) mainly negative ones towards Māori. This continued as I got older and I heard more negative things from people in my community and from family members. At times I even felt anger directed at me. In hindsight Media and a limited understanding of the issues our country faced through the eyes of the people around me shaped my understanding and made me want to avoid the uncomfortable topic.

Later in life, I studied to be an Early Childhood teacher and it was compulsory to study the Treaty of Waitangi. This was my first real glimpse into the bigger picture and the implications we still face today.

Studying the history of our country and the education system really opened my eyes. What happened in the past is so important to learn from and reflect on. I couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t taught in school what I learnt!


What it means to me

I have a quote in my lounge that says “If you don’t know about your past, you cannot know in what direction to move forward”. This holds such significance to me and I guess is something that fuels my fire. When we can see and accept the mistakes in our past we can truly move forward without making them again. 

I believe Waitangi day gives us the opportunity to reflect on our past and offer hope for progress in the future. By understanding and working together we see others perspectives and build unity in moving forward.

To honour the Treaty I believe in some ways it seems simple. To me it’s about accepting and respecting that Māori were the indigenous people of Aotearoa, Tangata whenua (People of the land) and that this is valuable and valued. 

Although we have moved into a multicultural society, the signing of the Treaty was a partnership between two peoples and those values should not be lost amidst the change.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that in the past, respect for Māori values were not widely understood or upheld. However, in our changing society and the communities we live in, we have the ability as individuals and collectives to educate ourselves and others and pass on Māori as well as any other ethnic values. The Treaty acknowledges a commitment to the preservation and celebration of te reo and tikanga Māori and recognition of equal rights and equal status here in Aotearoa. How you decide to honour that is up to you. 



To learn more about this kaupapa or to extend on learning for yourself and/or tamariki I have put helpful resources you can buy from me down the left hand side of this blog page and related articles on the right.


Ngā mihi mahana,

Some useful Pānuitanga


Lizzie Marvelly’s article Now tell me why we are cringing is cleverly written in story form and a really great article for understanding the Treaty of Waitangi.

Tamsin Hanly is very passionate about our history here in Aotearoa. She spent 4 years writing 6 volumes on the Treaty, ‘A critical guide to Maori and Pakeha histories’ after finding the primary school curriculum failed to reflect an accurate version of events. She is now doing Professional Development for Preschools and schools with her books, helping teachers meet Treaty obligations with the updated version. This could be something you or your Centre or school might be interested in pursuing. Watch Tamsin’d video here.

The “Treaty Resource Centre – He Puna Mātauranga o Te Tiriti” specialises in treaty information, professional development courses. They also have done some interesting research on Māori and the media and provide resources for adults learning about the Treaty.

Te tiriti o Waitangi – Living the values an article interview with Michele Coxhead that asks, How do we and/or how can we demonstrate our understanding of the Treaty in our practices?… the answer is with the 3 P principles, Partnership, Participation and Protection.

A timeline of “Biculturalism and NZ law”. The Christchurch City library website has a wealth of knowledge aimed at kids….(and big kids still learning 😉 ). 

The National library in Wellington have He Tohu Exhibition signatures that shape NZ. If you cant get there, their website provides facts, images knowledge and a helpful social inquiry resource section for teachers.

 The parenting Place have written a thoughtful and thought provoking article, How to talk to your kids about The Treaty of Waitangi.

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