Signed by the Crown and over 500 rangatira in 1840, Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty) is a founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand. Te Tiriti is an agreement between the Crown and hapū, intended to ensure an on-going relationship of good-faith, power-sharing and mutual benefit between tangata whenua (the first peoples of Aotearoa), and tangata Tiriti (all others who have come here).
In brief, Te Tiriti o Waitangi:
- Provided the Crown with the right of kāwanatanga: the responsibility to govern tangata Tiriti (non-Māori) for the benefit of all
- Affirmed the tino rangatiratanga of hapū – absolute authority and control over their lands and all their resources (this built on the recognition of tino rangatiratanga expressed in He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (the 1835 Declaration of Independence)
- Assured ōritetanga –equitable outcomes for tangata whenua
- Provided the assurance that religious and spiritual freedom – wairuatanga would be respected.