The Treaty of Waitangi is signed

6 February 1840

More than 40 Māori chiefs, led by Ngāpuhi’s Hōne Heke Pokai, signed a treaty with the British Crown at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The Treaty of Waitangi, as it has become known, had been prepared in just a few days.

Missionary Henry Williams and his son Edward translated the English draft into Māori overnight on 4 February. About 500 Māori debated the merits of the document for a day and a night before it was signed on the 6th. By September 1840, another 500 Māori had signed copies of the treaty that were sent around the country.

Image: modern view of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi