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This conclusion will not address directly the Tribunal’s issues one and five relating to ‘Māori understandings’ of He Wakaputanga and Te Tiriti, as this falls outside the research brief for this 517 See image on front page of this report. See also Lady (Mary) Martin, Our Māoris (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1884), p 37.

518 Many historians of British Empire are now dealing with the relationship between missions and imperialism. A few representative examples are S Thorne, ‘Religion and Empire at Home’, ch 7, in C Hall and S O Rose, eds, At Home with the Empire: Metropolitan Culture and the Imperial World (Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); and A Porter, Religion versus Empire? British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700-1914 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2004); A Porter, ‘ “Cultural Imperialism” and Protestant Missionary Enterprise, 1780-1914’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol 25, no 3, 1997, pp 367-391. R Strong, Anglicanism and the British Empire c.1700-1850 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), ch 1, provides a good summary of this literature.

172 report. Hence, it does not set out to investigate directly the views of rangatira in 1835 and 1840.

With a few exceptions, present-day Ngāpuhi or Māori views of documents were not consulted.

However, Ngāpuhi views are implied by the texts of the documents themselves, missionary commentary on them, and from the surrounding context. Hence, Ngāpuhi understandings, or missionary views of Ngāpuhi understandings, are suggested both in the body of the report and its conclusions.519 There may well be grounds for arguing that aspects of the Declaration and Treaty arrangements were “lost in translation” somewhere in between Busby’s or the Crown’s English texts and Māori understandings. But those who allege a “lost in translation” argument, must first seek to ascertain what it was that Williams thought he was doing. It cannot simply be assumed that a particular interpretation of the English texts (in particular a Crown interpretation) was Williams’ own understanding. This is, once again, to create a binary division between ‘Crown’ and ‘Māori’ views whereas, perhaps, Williams’ view was not identical to that of either ‘side’. Finally, this conclusion/summary of evidence somewhat reluctantly deals with Williams’ views under the heading of ‘the Crown’.

Issue 2: Crown Understandings of the Declaration ‘How did the Crown understand He Wakaputanga/ The Declaration? And, therefore, what was the nature of the relationship and the mutual commitments it was assenting to in signing He Wakaputanga/ The Declaration?’

–  –  –

The Text and Context of He Wakaputanga This sub-section interprets the words of He Wakaputanga in their missionary-Māori context. It therefore describes a missionary view of what He Wakaputanga meant and/or what missionaries considered rangatira understood about this document or event. It does not purport to describe what Ngāpuhi or particular rangatira actually understood. The investigation of such views independently of the missionary/Busby records was not within the scope of this report’s research.

The written record indicates that James Busby largely authored the English text we now have.

According to his own account, Busby gave this text to the CMS missionaries for translation.520 Henry Williams’ leadership of the CMS and his role of interpretation at the hui on 28 October 1835 indicates that he took a leading role, also, in translating (or interpreting) Busby’s English draft. This is not to deny that the Declaration/ he Wakaputanga also expressed Māori concerns in a Māori way.

Article 1

–  –  –

Paragraph one of the English text of the Declaration of Independence did two things. First, it declared the independence of the country of New Zealand. Second, it constituted by means of that declaration an ‘Independent State’, called or named ‘The United Tribes of New Zealand’.

In the Māori text, the declaration took the form, ‘ka wakaputa i te Rangatiratanga o to matou wenua’, literally ‘cause to come forth the Chieftainship of our land’, though wakaputa could also mean ‘declare’ or ‘announce’. The ‘Independent State’ was rendered in Māori ‘he Wenua Rangatira’, which could mean ‘a Chief(ly) Land’ or ‘a Free Country’. This was caused or made

–  –  –

(‘ka meatia’) and declared (‘ka wakaputaia’) by the rangatira, and named (‘kia huaina’) ‘the Assembly of the Tribes of New Zealand’ (or ‘Ko te Wakaminenga o nga Hapu o Nu Tireni’).

Chapter two of this report suggested that since ‘rangatira’ was a status and title embedded in Māori usage and practice, its uses in He Wakaputanga would have conveyed the ideas of social or ‘civil’ freedom and liberty, to rangatira. The contrast between ‘he Wenua Rangatira’ and its hypothetical opposites, ‘he Wenua Pononga’ or ‘he Wenua Taurekareka’ (a Servant/ Slave Land), may very possibly have lingered in Ngāpuhi thoughts. Ngāpuhi still had slaves or was in the process of releasing them in 1835. The discourse of taurekareka(tanga) or slavery to Queen Victoria assumed some prominence in 1840 and the years following. Missionaries combated this kōrero because they did not believe it had any basis.

The spiritual connotations of these contrasting states of rangatiratanga and ponongatanga/ taurekarekatanga would perhaps also have been understood by those rangatira influenced by missionary teaching. A central missionary message was contained in John chapter 8 of the 1837 Māori translation of the New Testament (Te Kawenata Hou). This was the message that all who accepted Ihu Karaiti (Jesus Christ) would be free from sin: that is, they would all be ‘rangatira’.

Hoani (John) 8:31-32, 36 stated:

Me i reira ka mea atu a Ihu ki nga Hurai i wakapono ki a ia, [‘]Ki te mau tonu koutou ki taku kupu, he tino akonga ano koutou naku; A e matau koutou ki te pono, ma te pono koutou e wakarangatiratia[’]…. Ki te mea ra ka wakarangatiratia koutou e te Tamaiti, he tino rangatira ano koutou.

(Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, [‘]If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free[‘]…. If the son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (KJV)) Hence, Williams used the social status of rangatira to convey the idea of spiritual freedom from sin. Just as rangatira in Māori society were free from (or independent of) external control, all who accepted Christ would be truly free of sin’s controlling power (‘he tino rangatira ano 175 koutou’). The spiritual meaning also contained some startling social implications: it suggested that even pononga (slaves or servants) could become rangatira.

Whether or not rangatira had embraced missionary influence, Williams’ use of ‘Rangatiratanga’ for ‘Independence’ and ‘he W[h]enua Rangatira’ for ‘Independent State’ neatly conveyed the English meanings of ‘Independence’ as ‘freedom’, ‘exemption from reliance or control’, or ‘state over which none has power’.521 Article 2

–  –  –

Williams’ conjoining of Kingitanga and mana to denote ‘sovereign power and authority’ (in the English text) reflected the fact that Māori terms alone were inadequate to translate a new concept of national sovereignty. His use of ‘huihuinga’ (article 2) and ‘runanga’ (article 3) for Congress appropriately indigenized a European concept. Congress was intended as the practical outworking of te Wakaminenga, or the Confederation. Manuka Henare states: ‘The idea that Māori would pass legislative law and that it was to apply to all Māori represented a radical development in Māori custom law and practice’.522 Rangatira or Congress reserved to themselves the new legislative powers (‘te w[h]akarite ture’) and functions of civil government (‘Kawanatanga’). Both Kāwanatanga and ‘ture’ (the Torah or Old Testament law) were missionary-introduced words. Together they conveyed a combination of civil/ secular law and Christian morality. Most CMS missionaries would have viewed ‘state’ 521 These definitions from Johnson’s Dictionary (1824 edition).

522 Henare, From Tribes to Nation, p 191.

176 and ‘church’ within a single frame, though there were also important differences between them.

Such views paralleled Māori holistic views of society and customary law. The identification of Christianity with civil government (kāwanatanga) was a significant factor in te Tiriti, which according to article one, granted (‘ceded’) this government to the Crown.

Article 3

Ko matou ko nga tino Rangatira 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.

In article three, te Wakaminenga declared what it would do with this new ‘national’ government:

make laws to dispense justice (‘kia tika ai te wakawakanga’), preserve peace (‘kia mau pu te rongo’), end wrongs (‘kia mutu te he’), and regulate trade (‘kia tika te hokohoko’).

Key southern rangatira signed He Wakaputanga between 1835 and 1839, including Te Wherowhero of Waikato and Te Hapuku of Ngāti Kahungunu. The advantages of confederation may have been attractive, but so presumably was the appeal of an alliance (if informal) with te Kingi o Ingarangi. The Māori text exhorted these southern rangatira to ‘discard’ or ‘forsake’ (‘kia w[h]akarerea’) their ‘fight(s)’ (‘w[h]awai’) with Ngāpuhi and join (‘kia uru’) te Wakaminenga, the Independent State or Assembly of New Zealand.

Article 4

–  –  –

In article four, rangatira sought the King of England’s protection for their infant state, literally, ‘our childhood’ (‘to matou Tamarikitanga’). This language of alliance and protection echoed the chief’s 1831 petition, which had appealed for King William IV ‘to become our friend and guardian of these Islands’ in particular from ‘the tribe of [Capt] Marion [du Fresne]’.523 Henry Williams’ journal entry suggests that this earlier petition was at least partially initiated by rangatira: ‘Several chiefs came to speak respecting the letter to the King to become protector of this island’.524 The chiefs’ appeal to the King to be ‘matua’ expressed a Māori idiom of parent-child, matuatamaariki. Busby suggested as much about this fourth paragraph.525 Some rangatira at Waitangi also referred to the missionaries and Busby as ‘fathers’.526 Christian rangatira also understood the Christian God as ‘father’, as seen in the Lord’s Prayer (‘E to matou Matua…’).

Henry Williams and He Wakaputanga

Henry Williams had no easy task translating the concepts of Busby’s draft Declaration into the Māori text of He Wakaputanga. For Williams, the concepts of independence (rangatiratanga) and independent state (he wenua rangatira) had a number of connotations. First, these terms implied notions of religious and civil liberty, or freedom from dictation by government in matters of faith or worship. Williams would have considered these freedoms in jeopardy if the French Government had established itself in the country. Second, there was the connotation of spiritual and social liberty, or independence from individual and social sin, which was only possible through Māori believing in Christ. Third, Williams understood that all peoples had divine origins. This meant that their integrity as a people or nation had to be respected.


T L Buick, The Treaty of Waitangi: How New Zealand Became a British Colony, third edition, (New Plymouth:

Thomas Avery, 1936), p 11.

524 Rogers, Te Wiremu, p 90, citing Williams’ journal, 28 Sept 1831, CN/O 94.

525 See above text at n 129.

526 See W Colenso, The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (Wellington: George Didsbury, 1890).

178 Williams’ understanding of a ‘Congress’ may have been partially formed from his familiarity with the Congress movement in Europe, which began with the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815.

The Congress marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars. It also marked the end of Williams’ navy career.527 The Vienna Congress produced the second Treaty of Paris in November 1815, which allotted France the colonies it had possessed in 1790.528 (Busby referred to this same Treaty of Paris in his 1837 protectorate scheme proposals.529) The Vienna Congress also denounced the slave trade. The CMS Missionary Register of June 1816 noted an important article appended to the Treaty of Paris. This article apparently confirmed the French and Allied Powers’ prohibition ‘in their respective dominions’ of the slave trade – ‘a commerce so odious, and so strongly condemned by the laws of religion and of nature’, the Treaty declared.530 This wording proves the relevance of concepts of divine and natural law to the law of nations of this period. Following the first Treaty of Paris (May 1814) the Missionary Register was ecstatic in its praise of Britain. Britian had rendered services to ‘European Independence’ and maintained the ‘independence’ of other European states against the Napoleonic threat.531 Williams’ exit from active naval service at the tail end of the Vienna Congress and the antislavery concerns expressed in Evangelical publications like the Missionary Register (which Williams read), suggest Williams’ familiarity with European state relations of this period. The Vienna Congress established a system of congresses to adjudicate future problems. ‘The Congress of Vienna was a prime example of balance of power diplomacy’, says the Oxford 527 In August 1815 he was discharged on half-pay, see Rogers, Te Wiremu, p 34.

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