The 1940 Centennial

  • The 1940 Centennial

    The centennial celebrations of 1940 marked a century of European effort and progress. Māori history and the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi took a back seat.

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  • Page 2 – The Centennial Exhibition

    The New Zealand Centennial Exhibition ran from 8 November 1939 to 4 May 1940. During this time 2,641,043 people went through the main gates with a daily average attendance of

  • Page 3 – Playland

    Over the 1939/40 summer 2,870,995 people - 200,000 more than the total number who visited the centennial exhibition - spent their pounds and shillings in Playland

  • Page 4 – The Centennial and progress

    The 1940 Centennial, planned for five years and publicly funded, was a deliberate act of national self-definition by the first Labour government.

  • Page 5 – The Treaty of Waitangi

    Despite all the talk of the 'birth of a nation', the place of the Treaty of Waitangi or Māori in the centennial celebrations was less obvious.

  • Page 6 – Further information

    Links and books relating to New Zealand's 1940 centennial

Waitangi Day

  • Waitangi Day

    Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. For most people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Māori, it is a time for reflecting on the Treaty and its place in modern New Zealand.

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  • Page 3 - Waitangi Day 1940s-1950sFrom the 1940s the Treaty and Waitangi began to find a place in the national consciousness. For most New Zealanders, they were of historical interest

Treaty timeline

Treaty signatories and signing locations

  • Treaty signatories and signing locations

    The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on nine separate sheets by more than 500 Māori. Find out more about the sheets, the signatories and the signing locations

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  • Page 6 - Preserving the documentsThe Treaty of Waitangi is currently on display in the He Tohu exhibition at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington. It has not always been so secure. Water, time and