Kaitāia signing, 28 April 1840

Nga Wahi

28 April 1840Sheet 1 — The Waitangi Sheet

The Waitangi sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi, first signed at Waitangi on 6 February 1840, was taken north to Kaitāia on the schooner New Zealander. When Colonial Secretary Willoughby Shortland arrived there on 28 April, Te Rarawa greeted him with musket fire and a haka. Sixty-one members of Te Rarawa signed the treaty; this was a unanimous decision, led by their rangatira (chief) Nōpera Pana-kareao.

Shortland travelled with Lieutenant H.D. Smart of the 28th Foot Regiment, sent from New South Wales, the Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionary Richard Taylor, and Dr John Johnson, the colonial surgeon. The official party assembled at the home of CMS missionary William Gilbert Puckey in Kaitāia, and held the meeting on his veranda and lawn from 10 a.m. All five men witnessed that day’s signatures.

The treaty was explained by Shortland, with Puckey translating into Māori. The message was that the treaty would protect them from the lawless Pākehā who were already living in New Zealand, and from the illegal land sales that were occurring. It was stressed that British laws would otherwise not interfere with Māori customs. Puckey then read the Māori text of the treaty to the gathering, and invited discussion from Te Rarawa.

It became evident in the discussion that Te Rarawa had had time since 6 February to debate the treaty, and that their concerns centred around the regulation of land sales and trade. Nōpera Pana-kareao spoke last, from his higher position on the veranda, and reminded the gathering that Te Rarawa had always welcomed Pākehā, starting with Pana-kareao’s own grandfather, who had first brought Pākehā to Kaitāia. He said of Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson: ‘We have now a helmsman for our canoe. One said, “Let me steer,” and another said, “Let me steer,” and we never went straight.’ [1] Pana-kareao had visited Puckey’s house the day before to discuss the issue of sovereignty and governorship in the first article of the treaty. From his understanding of the meaning of the treaty, he told the group that ‘the shadow of the land is to the Queen, but the substance remains to us.’ [2] Pana-kareao urged all present to sign, which they did immediately.

The signing was concluded by a feast provided by Pana-kareao and an exchange of gifts. Pana-kareao gave the official party 12 tons of potatoes and kumara, eight pigs and dried shark. In return, Shortland gave the signatories 12 bales of blankets and a cask of tobacco.

Pana-kareao’s famous interpretation of the meaning of the treaty was reversed less than a year later as the Crown’s understanding of the treaty became clear. On 25 January 1841 Richard Taylor wrote in his journal that ‘Noble [Nōpera Pana-kareao] and all the chiefs are much dissatisfied with the Governor’s proceedings, he says he thought the shadow of the land only would go to the Queen and the substance remain with them, but now he fears the substance of it will go to them and the shadow only will be their portion.’ [3]

[1] Quoted in T. Lindsay Buick, The Treaty of Waitangi: or, how New Zealand became a British colony, Mackay, Wellington, 1914, p. 186

[2] Quoted in Claudia Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, Allen & Unwin, Port Nicholson Press with assistance from the Historical Publications Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1987, p. 82

[3] Quoted in R.S. Bennett, Treaty to treaty: a history of early New Zealand from the Treaty of Tordesillas 1494 to the Treaty of Waitangi 1840, vol. 3, R.S. Bennett, Auckland, 2012, p. 292


Signature Number Signed assort descending Probable Name Tribe Hapū
228 Aperahama Āperahama Morenui Te Rarawa
207 Ereonora Ereonora Te Rarawa
222 Hakaraia Kohanga Hākaraia Kōhanga
198 Hamiona Potaka Hāmiona Pōtaka
213 Hamiora Tawari Hāmiora Tāwari
202 Hare Huru Hāre Huru Ngāti Kahu?, Te Aupōuri?, Ngāpuhi? Parapuwha
175 Hare Popata Waha Hāre Pōpata Wāka Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu Kaitote, Te Patukoraha, Ngāi Taranga
195 Harematenga Kawa Hāre Mātenga Kawa Te Rarawa? Te Patukoraha?
216 Haunui Haunui
204 Hauona Hauona/Hauora
172 Himiona Tangata Himiona Tangata Te Rarawa?
227 Himiona Waiuora Himiona Waeuone
194 Hohepa Poutama Hōhepa Poutama
199 Huwatahi Huatahi Hētaraka Ngāti Kurī?
225 Karaka Kawau Karaka Te Kawau Te Rarawa Te Pātū
223 Kawaheitiki Kawaheitiki
218 Kawaraki Kawaraki
210 Kepa Waha Kepa Waha
196 Kingi Kohuru Kīngi Kōhuru
184 Kopa Kopa/Kapa Te Aupōuri
182 Koroneho Pupu Koroneho Pūpū
211 Koroniria Nuau Koroniria Nuau
217 Kuri Kurī Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa
200 Marakae Mawae Marakai Māwai
188 Marama? / Maiapia? Mārama Te Rarawa? Ngāi Takoto?
173 Matenga Paerata Mātenga Paerata Te Rarawa Te Patukoraha
178 Matiu Huhu Matiu Huhu Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa
197 Matiu Tauhara Matiu Tauhara Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Te Roroa
185 Meinata Hongi Meinata Hongi
212 Ngare Ngare
168 Nopera Panakarao Nōpera Pana-kareao Te Rarawa Te Pātū
186 Otopi Ōtopi
187 Paetai Paetai
226 Paora Hoi Pāora Te Hoi
169 Paora Ngaruwe Parāone Ngāruhe Te Aupōuri
221 Papanui Papanui
189 Paratene Karuhuri Paratene Karuhuri
180 Paratene Waiora Paratene Waiora Te Aupōuri
224 Pera Kamukamu Apera Kamukamu
183 Piripi Raorao Piripi Raorao
208 Poau Pōau/Pōari Te Māhanga Te Rarawa Te Pukepoto
206 Puhipi Pūhipi Te Ripi Te Rarawa Te Pukepoto
174 Rapata Wakahoho Rāpata Whakahoki Te Rarawa?
181 Rapiti Rehurehu Rāpiti Rehurehu Te Rarawa
209 Rawiri Rāwiri Te Rarawa
219 Rawiri Awarau Rāwiri Awarau Te Rarawa Te Patukoraha
191 Rehana Teira Reihana Teira Te Rarawa? Te Patukoraha
171 Rimu Rimu Te Rarawa?
220 Ru
215 Ruanui Ruanui
203 Tamati Mutawa Tāmati Mūtawa
190 Tamati Pawau Tāmati Pāwau
176 Tana Te Wheinga Taua Te Rarawa? Te Pātū
179 Tokitahi Tokitahi
205 Tomo Tomo
201 Utika Hu Utika Hu
192 Watene Patonga Wātene Pātonga
193 Wiremu Ngarae Wiremu Ngārae
170 Wiremu Wirihana Wiremu Wirihana Te Rarawa?
214 Witi Witi/Te Whiti Te Rarawa

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