'The Trail Of Waitangi' - The Treaty

The Littlewood Document

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In 1989 a document was discovered by the descendants of Henry Littlewood, a practising lawyer at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. This document has been considered Captain Hobson's final draft of the Treaty.

It is significant, in that the wording should put to rest some of the misunderstanding of the past years about issues that have arisen over 'Sovereignty', the 'Foreshore', etc. and should dispense with the ever imposing guilt implication forced upon the Government and European by the 'Maori Gravy Train'. This however, does not make the Government innocent of any past wrongdoings.

NOTE: The text of the draft below should enhance the understanding of the treaty texts, and in no way contradict them. If there is a contradiction, I would appreciate being told.


Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of England in Her gracious consideration of the chiefs and the people of New Zealand, and Her desire to preserve to them their lands and to maintain peace and order amongst them, has been pleased to appoint an officer to treat with them for the cession of the Sovereignty of their country and of the islands adjacent, to the Queen. Seeing that many of Her Majesty's subjects have already settled in the country and are constantly arriving, and it is desirable for their protection as well as the protection of the natives, to establish a government amongst them.

Her Majesty has accordingly been pleased to appoint Mr. William Hobson, a captain in the Royal Navy to be Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may now or hereafter be ceded to Her Majesty and proposes to the chiefs of the Confederation of United Tribes of New Zealand and the other chiefs to agree to the following articles.

Article first

The chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes and the other chiefs who have not joined the confederation, cede to the Queen of England for ever the entire Sovreignty of their country.

Article second

The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs and the tribes and to all the people of New Zealand, the possession of their lands, dwellings and all their property. But the chiefs of the Confederation of United Tribes and the other chiefs grant to the Queen, the exclusive rights of purchasing such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to sell at such prices as may be agreed upon between them and the person appointed by the Queen to purchase from them.

Article third

In return for the cession of their Sovreignty to the Queen, the people of New Zealand shall be protected by the Queen of England and the rights and privileges of British subjects will be granted to them.

Signed, William Hobson
Consul and Lieut. Governor.

Now we the chiefs of the Confederation of United Tribes of New Zealand assembled at Waitangi, and we the other tribes of New Zealand, having understood the meaning of these articles, accept them and agree to them all. In witness whereof our names or marks are affixed. Done at Waitangi on the 4th of February, 1840.

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A link to a more in depth article on the history of this document is on the links page.


© G.S. Williams 2000 onwards All rights reserved