About Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Often called ‘The Birthplace of our Nation’, The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are considered to be the founding site of New Zealand. Today, the site weaves together the strands and stories of many people, events, and places to reveal the rich cultural history of Aotearoa New Zealand.
History of Waitangi Treaty Grounds
It was in Treaty House at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on 6 February 1840 that the founding document of New Zealand was signed. This document was the Treaty of Waitangi and was the result of a collaboration between a large number of Maori chiefs and the British.
This treaty was intended to protect Maori property from ever increasing numbers of settlers from Britain and France. Under this document, the Maori were given British citizenship and a guarantee that their land would not be taken from them. In return, the British had first refusal on any land which the Maori sold. It is important to note that the true meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi has always been highly contested.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Today
Visitors to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds can see Treaty House, where the document was first signed, the Maori Meeting House, which represents the different tribes and is also host to powerful Maori cultural performances, a traditional Maori waka (canoe) and hangi (traditional cooking methods), and the visitor centre, with its information boards and exhibits.
The Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi is also on the site and contains a wealth of information about the documents, their actual signing, and their ongoing relevance
Set amongst lush native forest and gardens and with a stunning view over the Bay of Islands, there is also an art gallery and carving studio, which make for creative and scenic additions to what is an unforgettable and fascinating visit.
Getting to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
From the centre of Auckland, the site is reachable in around 3 hours 15 minutes via the State Hwy 1 road. From Whangarei, it takes an hour by car via the same road, or is a scenic 4 hour bike ride.
The remote and scenic country of New Zealand's varied history and culture is reflected in its historical sites. Here's our pick of 5 which make for essential viewing.
Discover the fascinating, and at times harrowing, history of the British Empire at these 10 significant sites around the world, from the Houses of Parliament to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.