“… you can’t understand what the rangatira were doing with the Treaty without looking to the Declaration as well. The British Crown wasn’t bestowing tino rangatiratanga, nor were the rangatira creating tino rangatiratanga as something completely new. Rather, many rangatira were simply reaffirming what they’d done five years earlier.”
Morgan Godfery in conversation with Carwyn Jones and Claudia Orange
On 28 October 1835 rangatira in the north, along with British representatives gathered to sign He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (the Declaration of Independence). It’s a foundational document for this country and critical to understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Moana Jackson’s clear and informative kōrero, and Vincent O’Malley’s accessible account provide valuable starting points for understanding the context in which He Whakaputanga arose and it’s enduring significance.
Earlier this year historian Claudia Orange and political writer Morgan Godfery discussed He Whakaputanga with Victoria University law lecturer Carwyn Jones. Kennedy Warne’s edited record of the discussion, He Whakaputanga: Partnership and power sharing is another engrossing read. Where He Whakaputanga sits in political discourse and constitutional history is to the fore in this discussion as Orange and Godfery note “its partnership with Te Tiriti.” Implications for collective Māori action, and the different understandings of kāwanatanga / governorship over time offer useful insight into He Whakaputanga’s role today and in the past.
He Whakaputanga is housed at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa as part of the permanent and award winning He Tohu exhibition. It can also be explored online.
Images: Cover of Ngāpuhi Speaks – independent report on the Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu Claim
and He Whakaputanga The Declaration of Independence, 1835