|Declaration of Independence
This is an international declaration signed on
28 October 1835 which recognises the sovereignty of the
Independent Tribes of New Zealand. It was the forerunner of the
Treaty of Waitangi and has a flag to symbolise tribal rights to
trade as independent nations.
The Treaty of Waitangi must be seen in the context of events that happened over a number of years before 1840. One of the major events was the selection of a National Flag in 1834, and following this the Declaration of Independence which was signed on October 28, 1835, at Waitangi.
The events leading up to this Declaration of Independence included:
- the concerns of both the Church and Missionary Society, Busby and
Māori about the lawlessness and behaviour of many Europeans
particularly in the Bay of Islands. The letter sent to King William
IV from the Māori chiefs is worth reading on this subject
- the growing interest of other nations apart from Britain, e.g.
France and United States, in New Zealand, and amongst these Baron
Charles de Thierry, who claimed he had bought 40,000 acres of land
and attempted to establish himself as the Sovereign Chief of
- the discussions , trips abroad , debates and plans within
Māori society since around 1816 to establish a form of Māori
government within Aotearoa, one which would unite the tribes in
some form of common system
- the successful participation by Māori in trading, shipping and
other "European" areas of life.
The Declaration of Independence:
A Declaration of
- We, the hereditary chiefs and heads of the tribes of the
Northern parts of New Zealand, being assembled at Waitangi,
in the Bay of Islands, on the 28th day of October, 1835,
declare the Independence of our country, which is hereby
constituted and declared to be an Independent State, under the
designation of the United Tribes of New Zealand.
- All sovereign power and authority within the territories of
the United Tribes of New Zealand is hereby declared to reside
entirely and exclusively in the hereditary chiefs and heads of
tribes in their collective capacity, who also declare that
they will not permit any legislative authority separate from
themselves in their collective capacity to exist, nor any
function of government to be exercised within the said
territories, unless by persons appointed by them, and acting
under the authority of laws regularly enacted by them in
- The hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes agree to meet in
Congress at Waitangi in the autumn of each year, for the purpose
of framing laws for the dispensation of justice, the preservation
of peace and good order, and the regulation of trade; and they
cordially invite the Southern tribes to lay aside their private
animosities and to consult the safety and welfare of our common
country, by joining the Confederation of the United Tribes.
- They also agree to send a copy of this Declaration to his
Majesty the King of England, to thank him for his acknowledgment
of their flag; and in return for the friendship and protection
they have shown, and are prepared to show, to such of his subjects
as have settled in their country, or resorted to its shores for
the purposes of trade, they entreat that he will continue to be
the parent of their infant State, and that he will become its
Protector from all attempts upon its independence.
Agreed to unanimously on this 28th day of October, 1835, in the
presence of His Britannic Majesty's Resident.
(Here follows the signatures or marks of thirty-five Hereditary
chiefs or Heads of tribes, which form a fair representation of the
tribes of New Zealand from the North Cape to the latitude of the
English witnesses (signed)
Henry Williams, Missionary, C.M.S.; George Clarke, C.M.S.;
James C. Clendon, Merchant; Gilbert Mair, Merchant.
I certify that the above is correct copy of the Declaration
of the Chiefs, according to the translation of Missionaries
who have resided ten years and upwards in the country; and
it is transmitted to his Most Gracious Majesty the King of
England, at the unanimous request of the chiefs.
JAMES BUSBY, British Resident at New Zealand
HE WAKAPUTANGA O
- Ko matou, ko nga Tino Ranatira o nga iwi o Nu Tireni i raro
mai o Hauraki kua oti nei te huihui i Waitangi i Tokerau i te ra
28 o Oketopa 1835, ka wakaputa i te Rangatiratanga o to matu wenua
a ka meatia ka wakaputaia e matou he wenua Rangatira, kia huaina,
ko te Wakaminenga o nga Hapu o Nu Tireni.
- Ko te Kingitanga ko te mana i te wenua o te wakaminenga o
Nu Tireni ka meatia nei kei nga Tino Rangatira anake i to matou
huihuinga, a ka mea hoki e kore e tukua e matou te wakarite ture
ki te tahi hunga ke atu, me te tahi Kawantanga hoki kia meatia i
te wenua o te wakaminenga o Nu Tireni, ko nga tangata anake e
meatia nei e matou e wakarite ana ki te ritenga o o matou ture e
meatia nei matou i to matou huihuinga.
- Ko matou ko nga tino Rangitira ka mea nei kia huihui ki
te runanga ki Waitangi a te Ngahuru i tenei tau i tenei tau ki te
wakarite ture kia tika ai te wakawakanga, kia mau pu te rongo kia
mutu te he kia tika te hokohoko, a ka mea hoki ki nga tauiwi o
runga, kia wakarerea te wawai, kia mahara ai ki te wakaoranga o
to matou wenua, a kia uru ratou ki te wakaminenga o Nu Tireni.
- Ka mea matou kia tuhituhia he pukapuka ki te ritenga o
tenei o to matou wakaputanga nei ki te Kingi o Ingarani hei kawe
atu i to matou aroha nana hoki i wakaae ki te Kaara mo matou.
A no te mea ka atawai matou, ka tiaki i nga Pakeha e noho nei i
uta, e rere mai ana ki te hokohoko, koia ka mea ai matou ki te
Kingi kia waiho hei matua kia matou i to matou Tamarikitanga kei
wakakahoretia to matou Rangatiratanga.
Kua wakaaetia katoatia e matou i tenei ra i te 28 Oketopa, 1835,
ki te aroaro o te Reireneti o te Kingi o Ingarani.
Letter from James Busby to the British Under Secretary of State:
THE BRITISH RESIDENT to the UNDER SECRETARY of STATE.
British Residency at New Zealand, Bay of Islands,
2nd November, 1835.
I have the honour to enclose herewith a copy of a Declaration, by the
chiefs of the Northern parts of New Zealand, of the Independence of their
country, and of their having united their tribes into one State, under the
designation of "The United Tribes of New Zealand."
In this Declaration the chiefs entreat that His Majesty will continue to
be the parent of their infant State, and that he will become its Protector
from all attempts on its independence; and it is at their unanimous desire
that I transmit this document, in order to its being laid at the feet of
Mr. Under Secretary Hay.
&c., &c., &c.,
I have, &c., |
British Resident at New Zealand.
EXTRACT of a DESPATCH from Lord GLENELG to
Major-General Sir RICHARD BOURKE, New South Wales, dated Downing
Street, 25th May, 1836:
I have received a letter from Mr. Busby, enclosing a copy of a Declaration
made by the chiefs of the Northern parts of New Zealand, setting forth
the Independence of their country, and declaring the Union of their
respective tribes into one State, under the designation of The United
Tribes of New Zealand. I perceive that the chiefs at the same time came
to the resolution to send a copy of their Declaration to His Majesty, to
thank him for his acknowledgment of their Flag, and to entreat that, in
return for the friendship and protection which they have shown , and are
prepared to show, to such British subjects as have settled in their
country or resorted to its shores for the purposes of trade, His Majesty
will continue to be the parent of their infant State, and its Protector
from all attempts on its independence.
With reference to the desire which the chiefs have expressed on this
occasion to maintain a good understanding with His Majesty's subjects,
it will be proper that they should be assured, in His Majesty's name,
that He will not fail to avail himself of every opportunity of showing
his goodwill, and of affording to those chiefs such support and protection
as may be consistent with a due regard to the just rights of others, and
to the interests of His Majesty's subjects