Understanding He Whakaputanga:

  • A Landmark Declaration: He Whakaputanga is New Zealand’s first human rights document conforming with international standards. It marked the beginning of Aotearoa’s journey towards self-determination for Māori. It was the precursor to Te Tiriti, and gave the Crown permission to negotiate Te Tiriti.
  • Unity Among Māori: This declaration was signed by a coalition of Māori chiefs, representing ngā hapū o Aotearoa, who came together to assert their collective sovereignty.
  • Recognition of Rights: He Whakaputanga affirmed the rangatiratanga held by  hapū and whānau for thousands of years.  The right to manage their own affairs, trade, and make agreements with foreign powers.
  • Ignored by Governments: He Whakaputanga has been dismissed and ignored by successive governments for 188 years.
  • It is still relevant: He Whakaputanga is as relevant today as it was when it was signed. It is referenced in legal and political discussions regarding Māori rights and the Te Tiriti. It also underscores the ongoing efforts to address historical injustices and to uphold the principles of partnership, protection, and participation as outlined in Te Tiriti.


28 OCTOBER 1835

1. Ko matou, ko nga Tino Rangatira o nga iwi o Nu Tireni i raro mai o Hauraki kua oti nei te huihui i Waitangi i Tokeraui te ra 28 o Oketopa 1835, ka wakaputa i te Rangatiratangao to matou wenua, a, ka meatia ka wakaputaia e matou he Wenua Rangatira, kia huaina ko te Wakaminenga o nga Hapu o Nu Tireni.

2. Ko te Kingitanga ko te mana i te wenua o te wakaminenga o Nu Tireni ka meatia nei kei nga Tino Rangatira anake i to matou huihuinga. A, ka mea hoki e kore e tukua e matou te wakarite ture ki te tahi hunga ke atu, me te tahi Kawanatanga hoki kia meatia i te wenua o te wakaminenga o Nu Tireni. Ko nga tangata anake e meatia nei e matou e wakarite ana ki te ritenga o o matou ture e meatia nei e matou i to matou huihuinga.

3. Ko matou ko nga Tino Rangatira ka mea nei kia huihui ki te runanga ki Waitangi a te ngahuru i tenei tau i tenei tau ki te wakarite ture, kia tika ai te wakawakanga, kia mau ki te rongo, kia mutu te he, kia tika te hokohoko. A, ka mea hoki ki nga tauiwi o runga, kia wakarerea te wawai, kia mahara ai ki te wakaoranga o to matou wenua, a, kia uru ratou ki te wakaminenga o Nu Tireni.

4. Ka mea matou kia tuhituhia he pukapuka ki te ritenga o tenei o to matou wakaputanga nei ki te Kingi o Ingarani hei kawe atu i to matou aroha nana hoki i wakaae ki te Kara mo matou. A, no te mea ka atawai matou, ka tiaki i nga pakeha e noho nei i uta, e rere mai ana ki te hokohoko, koia ka mea ai matou ki te Kingi kia waiho hei matua ki a matou i to matou Tamarikitanga kei wakakahoretia to matou Rangatiratanga.

1. We the hereditary chiefs and heads of the tribes of the Northern parts of New Zealand, being assembled at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, on this 28th day of October, 1835, declare the independence of our country which is hereby constituted and declared to be an Independent State under the designation of the United Tribes of New Zealand.

2. All sovereign power and authority within the territories of the united tribes of New Zealand is hereby declared to reside entirely and exclusively in the hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes in their collective capacity, who also declare that they will not permit any legislative authority separate from themselves in their collective capacity, nor any function of government to be exercised within the said territories, unless by persons appointed by them and acting under the authority of laws regularly enacted by them in Congress assembled.

3. The hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes agree to meet in Congress at Waitangi in the autumn of each year for the purpose of framing laws for the dispensation of justice, the preservation of peace and good order, and the regulation of trade. They also cordially invite the southern tribes to lay aside their private animosities and to consult the safety and welfare of our common country by joining the Confederation of the United Tribes.

4. They also agree to send a copy of this Declaration to His Majesty the King of England to thank him for his acknowledgement of their flag. In return for the friendship and protection that they have shown and are prepared to show to such of his subjects as have settled in their country or resorted to its shores for the purposes of trade, they entreat that he will continue to be the parent of their infant State, to protect it from all attempts upon its independence.

Agreed to in its entirety by us on this 28th day of October, 1835, in the presence of His Britannic Majesty’s Resident.