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What happened at Port Waikato on April 11?



Historian Claudia Orange writes concerning the English document that was used to receive signatures at Waikato Heads and Manukau: 'This copy was the only copy (as far as we know) sent out in English. Robert Maunsell, a CMS missionary stationed near the mouth of the Waikato river, received it in late March or early April, just as a large mission meeting of some 1,500 Maori was assembling. Maunsell believed that the thirty-two chiefs who first signed his copy comprised most of the leading men of the area. The names show that they were mainly from the lower Waikato region, while some came from Ngaruawahia and further upstream. In mid April 1840, William Symonds carried this treaty copy back to Manukau harbour where seven more Waikato chiefs signed (at Awhitu?) on 26 April. Te Wherowhero and several others were present, but would not sign.
Maunsell took care to record the tribe or hapu for most of the chiefs. Sometimes he noted their location, although this was seldom fixed; political and seasonal pressures meant that chiefs and their people moved about a good deal'.

This explanation is more than just a little inadequate in identifying what truly happened, so, let's see if we can reconstruct the sequence of events and find out what documents were received, used, signed and despatched by Reverend Maunsell, W.C. Symonds and Reverend John Whiteley.

On March 1st 1840, Lieutenant Governor suffered a severe stroke while at the Waitemata Harbour and returned to the Bay of Islands. The reins of Government were taken over by Willoughby Shortland, who continued the treaty signing process throughout the country. Many "official" copies of the Treaty of Waitangi, all in Maori and earmarked for signing by the chiefs, were written up and despatched from the Bay of Islands. There is no record of how many documents were made, but 7 large handwritten copies and 1 printed copy became the repositories of about 500 chiefly signatures from around the country.

On the 13th of March, Shortland sent a signed copy, bearing his signature, to Captain William Cornwallis Symonds, formerly an officer in the British Army and son of Sir William Symonds, Surveyor of the British Navy. Captain WC Symonds was Deputy-Surveyor of New Zealand and an enthusiastic linguist in the Maori language, with a vocabulary of 3000 words. His assignment was to collect signatures at Awhiti, Manukau, assisted by Church Missionary Society catechist, Mr. James Hamlin, considered by many to be one the best Maori speakers to be found amongst the Europeans. Captain Symonds was to conduct Treaty meetings with the chiefs, first at the southern shores of the Manukau Harbour, then, with the assistance of Reverend Robert Maunsell, at the Waikato Heads mission. From there Captain Symonds was to undertake a journey further south to the Wesleyan mission station of Reverend John Whiteley at Kawhia to collect signatures from chiefs, ranging down the coast toward Taranaki.

Unfortunately, ardent opponents to the Treaty, like Chief Rewa, influenced by the negativity of Bishop Pompallier, had already coloured the thinking of the chiefs at Manukau when Symonds arrived and none signed after the first hurriedly called meeting conducted by James Hamlin and William Symonds. Another meeting was held on the 20th of March where Paramount Chief Te Wherowhero was present, but the only signatures acquired came from 3 chiefs of the Ngati Whatua tribe. After two futile meetings, and only meagre success, William Symonds was obliged to abandon any further attempts at negotiation, for the moment, and make his way to Reverend Robert Maunsell at Waikato Heads. Symonds left Manukau on April 3rd, hauling his boats across the portage, which divides the Manukau from the waters of the Waikato. He then proceeded down the Awaroa River to the Church Mission Station at Waikato Heads, unfortunately arriving there several days too late for Reverend Robert Maunsell's Treaty meeting (see The Treaty of Waitangi, by T.L. Buick, pp 188-189).

Reverend Maunsell had been obliged to take advantage of an already scheduled "business meeting" (hui) of the natives in his district and address their assembly concerning the Treaty. This meeting was held on April 11th 1840, before a huge Maori assembly (1500 people). Reverend Maunsel was very successful in his endeavours, but within the space of a few days it dawned on the signatories that they had not received "blankets" like other chiefs of the north, as tokens of friendship and thanks (koha). Some chiefs were insulted by this oversight and wanted to "tear the treaty up" as a result of this breach in protocol.

Reference to this "hui" is mentioned in Te Manihera...The Life and Times of the Pioneer Missionary Robert Maunsell, by Helen Garrett, 1991, pg. 90, wherein it says:

'Amongst the missionaries, four were appointed to collect signatures. One of the four was Maunsell, who was sent a copy of the Treaty* and was responsible for getting signatures of the Waikato chiefs. He took advantage of a business meeting of the natives in his district to produce the Treaty'.

*Footnote: It's important to remember that Maunsell was only ever sent "one" official Treaty document (in Maori) by the government, despatched with William C. Symonds on the 13th of March 1840.

Thankfully, before the situation got too far out of hand, Captain WC Symonds arrived at the mission. He'd brought Maunsell's "official" Treaty document, but had arrived too late for it to be of any use. Symonds had a few blankets with him and these were distributed, with a promise that more were arriving. The formerly "slighted and insulted" chiefs were appeased at the gesture and goodwill returned. Maunsell had been awaiting the arrival of Symonds, "with no small anxiety" (see The Treaty of Waitangi by TL Buick, pp 188-189).

Maunsell, in lieu of having received the "official" Treaty document, brought too late by Symonds, had innovated to take advantage of the "hui" business meeting on the 11th of April, at which chiefs from far and wide were assembled. For his presentation on the day he had a Church Mission Society printed Maori version of the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as a beautifully hand written, but unauthorised, English copy. This English copy was yet another of the strange English versions penned by James Stuart Freeman, using rejected articles from Busby's "rough notes" of the 3rd of February 1840 and one of two choices of preambles originating on about the 1st of 2nd of February 1840. How Maunsell had acquired this copy is something of a mystery*, but we know for certain that it was not sent to him for use in his meeting. The "official" Treaty document for presentation and signing was coming with the government's representative, William C. Symonds.

*Footnote: This was one of Freeman's several and variable Formal Royal Style version copies, which were only ever sent overseas and never intended for use at signing assemblies in New Zealand. Freeman had sought-out Hobson's signature, on the document for despatch, at the height of Hobson's stroke induced paralysis and Hobson had attempted to comply, although he was very severely incapacitated. The left handed signature Hobson executed was terrible and could have had no other effect than to immediately render the document worthless. Hobson, realistically, would never have agreed to allow the document to be sent to his superiors overseas with such an abysmal, tortured signature on it. The only conceivable time that this incident could have occurred is between the 1st & 4th of March, aboard H.M.S Herald at Waitemata.

The historical record tells us that Freeman sent the reject and worthless document, which he'd personally put a lot of work into creating, to Reverend Robert Maunsell at Waikato Heads mission station. Maunsell, in a letter to the Lay Secretary of 30th March 1840 made mention that "the Secretary" (Freeman) had sent the document to him. (See R Maunsell to Lay Secretary, 30 March 1840, in ATL-Micro-MS-Coll-04-33 (CMS Archives CN/M v. 12
pp 308-309).

HMS Herald had remained at the Waitemata Harbour until after the treaty meeting at Tamaki on March 4th 1840. Freeman's Formal Royal Style document went overland to Maunsell and was later used to accomodate overflow signatures at his treaty assembly, held five weeks later. This of the big piece of paper only occurred because the government-issued treaty document didn't arrive in time for Maunsell's meeting. An altogether different document (in Maori) had been officially sent by the government (situated at the Bay of Islands) on March 13th 1840 specifically for Maunsell's meeting.

With no "official" document to work from, Maunsell had to innovate at short notice and use a printed Maori document, produced on the CMS Mission press on the 17th of February 1840. The defective English document on-hand was of no consequence, as the proceedings were fully conducted in the Maori language, using only the Maori text. Nevertheless, the beautiful big piece of paper had a large clear space at the bottom, which could serve the purpose of accommodating additional signatures when there was no further room left on the Church Mission Society (Maori language) printed copy. To see the C.M.S printed Treaty of Waitangi text copy, used by Reverend Robert Maunsell and his assistant Benjamin Yate Ashwell on April 11th 1840, CLICK HERE.

The official document, brought by WC Symonds, which had arrived too late for Reverend Maunsell's meeting, was forwarded on, by Maunsell, to Reverend John Whiteley, further to the south at Kawhia. To see this official document that Maunsell was, technically, supposed to use, we need only view Reverend Whiteley's document, the last name upon which was added on September 3rd 1840. To view that document, CLICK HERE.

Maunsell later wrote to Hobson: 'and I have already forwarded on to Messrs Wallis and Whiteley the document left with me by Captain Symonds in order that they may obtain as many more names as they deem expedient' (see Robert Maunsell LL.D. A New Zealand Pioneer, His life and Times, by Henry E.R.L Wily, 1938, pp 68-69).

Captain WC Symonds started heading South in an attempt to add more signatures to Maunsell's "make-do" Treaty documents (composed of a CMS Mission printed Maori Treaty sheet and the other defective English sheet with sufficient space available to accommodate signatures). He had missed attending Maunsell's very successful meeting at Waikato Heads, for which he'd brought the official document. That document had been left with Maunsell for direct despatch, by messenger, to Reverend Whiteley at the Kawhia Mission Station. Symonds, it would seem, was going to take a circuitous route to acquire more signatures in the district, then meet up with Reverend Whiteley later and take all signatures acquired, on all 3 documents, back to Government House in Russell. For his own signature gathering incentive, before meeting up with Reverend Whiteley at Kawhia, Symonds, for convenience, would now, for the first time, use Maunsell's "make-do" documents, bearing the signatures that Maunsell and Ashwell had acquired at Waikato Heads on April 11th 1840.

Shortly after leaving Reverend Maunsell, however, Symonds took time to look closely at the signatures that Maunsell had acquired, undoubtedly in an effort to plan his itinerary and movements. Upon examination he could see from the 5 signatures on the Maori copy and the 32 signatures overflowing onto the English sheet, that all the primary chiefs, except a few from Kawhia area, had already signed the Treaty. These few missing signatures could be acquired, without his participation, by Reverend John Whiteley and his assistant, James Wallis. Symonds decided, therefore, to venture no further south, but to attempt, once more, to get the elusive signatures from the obstinate chiefs at Manukau (some of which had been promised), and especially that of the Paramount Chief Te Wherowhero. He, consequently, sent a letter on to Reverend Whiteley, informing him that he was not now coming, and asking him to proceed in the signature gathering incentive without him. Maunsell had already despatched the "official" Treaty document southward to Reverend Whiteley by messenger, expecting that all documents and letters would come together when Symonds finally reached the mission station there at Kawhia.

Unbeknown to Maunsell, when he wrote his report to Hobson, Symonds would later decide to return for a third try at getting signatures at Manukau and not go south to Kawhia as expected. Three earlier acquired Ngati Whatua signatures, from the second meeting at Manukau, were on the official document, now in the possession of Reverend John Whiteley in Kawhia. Symonds, without access to that document, would, as stated, use Maunsell's "unofficial make-do documents", bearing the many signatures that Reverend Robert Maunsell and his assistant, Benjamin Yate Ashwell had acquired at Waikato Heads on the 11th of April. This impressive list would, most assuredly, have some influence on the reluctant chiefs at Manukau. Maunsell, had sent off a letter with Symonds, addressed to Hobson, which said:

'You will, I trust, receive with this [letter despatched with Symonds] the document lately forwarded to me to have the signatures of the principal men in Waikato attached to it. I am happy to inform you that the signatures obtained [on the alternative, "make-do" documents] comprise those of the leading men, except perhaps two. Those we hope soon to obtain, and I have already forwarded on to Messrs Wallis and Whiteley the document left with me by Captain Symonds [the one Maunsell was supposed to use...the official "Government-issued" document] in order that they may obtain as many more names as they deem expedient.

On May 12th, 1840, Captain WC Symonds reports: 'On examination of the signatures obtained by Mr. Maunsell, I found that with the exception of very few, all the leading men of the country as far as Mokau had acknowledged the sovereignty of Her Majesty. The few belonged to the neighbourhood of Aotea and Kawhia, wherefore I determined proceeding myself no further, being well assured of the disposition on the part of the Wesleyan Mission to support the Government in every exertion in its power, and I sent a letter to the Rev. John Whiteley claiming his assistance in procuring the remaining names. I returned to Manukau on April 18, where I obtained the adherence of seven other chiefs to the Treaty. Te Whero-whero and several others have objected, though they manifest no ill-will to the Government (see Robert Maunsell LL.D. A New Zealand Pioneer, His life and Times, by Henry E.R.L Wily, 1938, pp 68-69).

So, it becomes very clear what had happened with the various documents:

(a) Reverend Maunsell had not been able to use his "official" document, sent to him from Government House in the Bay of Islands and signed by acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland, as it had arrived 3 days too late. He had used, instead, "materials on hand" to conduct his meeting on the 11th before 1500 Maori, conveniently gathered in for their hui business meeting. His document for the hui meeting was an authorised Maori text, printed by the Church Mission Society. Two hundred of these authorised Maori Treaty text documents had been produced by Paihia Mission printer, William Colenso on February 17th.

(b) At the April 11th meeting another "unauthorised for presentation to Maori chiefs" piece of paper had been used in no other capacity but to receive the overflow of signatures that would not fit onto the "authorised Maori text document". Reverend Maunsell wrote a letter to Hobson, describing what had transpired locally and gave it to Captain William Symonds, who, supposedly, was heading southward, by a circuitous route, to eventually join up with Reverend John Whiteley at Kawhia Mission.

(c) Captain Symonds later changed his mind en route, after looking over Maunsell's list of signatures and deciding that his efforts should be focused on Manukau, where he'd had only moderate success, despite two meetings with the chiefs there.

(d) Symonds, unbeknown to Maunsell, returned to Manukau, this time with a different document (Maunsell's signed, Maori printed text from the CMS Press and the mistaken English treaty document used only to accommodate the overflow of signatures). On his third attempt at Manukau, on the 26th of April, Symonds managed to get an additional seven signatures, bringing his tally in the Manukau area to ten signatures. His primary objective, in going to Manukau Heads, was in hope of obtaining the signature of Paramount Chief, Te Wherowhero, which he failed, once again, to do. Captain Symonds then took all of the signatures, affixed to the two pieces of paper used by Maunsell and Ashwell, as well as himself, to Hobson. The "official" document, which was the only one envisioned by acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland, to be signed in Manukau, Waikato Heads and Kawhia came back, from Reverend John Whiteley to the Bay of Islands, by other means after September 1840.

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This is the copy of the Treaty of Waitangi used by Reverend Robert Maunsell at Port Waikato on the 11th of April 1840. The text is in Maori and it's content was conveyed, by oratory, to the chiefs and assembly, fully in Maori. Because of the rushed circumstances, Maunsell had not, as yet, received his official (handwritten), "Government issued" Treaty document (in Maori), complete with room at the bottom to accommodate many signatures. Maunsell began taking signatures on this printed CMS copy and later allowed the overflow of signatures to continue onto an "unauthorised for presentation to Maori chiefs", mistakenly copied English document (based upon James Busby's rough notes of February 3rd 1840 and an early preamble version). Maunsell was sent the document by Freeman within a day or two of Hobson having a very serious, paralysing stroke. Hobson was so ill at the time that Freeman, a 2nd class clerk, could not be survervised by Hobson and seems to have made some decisions of his own free will. The English document bears a very distorted, heavily "stroke induced", signature by Hobson, so was signed at the height of Hobson's paralysis. It would seem that the gross mistake of supplying it to Maunsell was due to the singular ineptitude of James Stuart Freeman. These Formal Royal Style " documents were only ever for overseas despatch, as they were written in pretentious, saltory language for royalty or heads of state. The "official, government issued, Maori-language copy" was despatched to Maunsell on the 13th of March by the Acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland... so what was Freeman, a 2nd class clerk, doing sending Maunsell an unauthorised English language text between the 1st & 4th of March 1940?

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The signatures that would not fit on the "authorised and official text" Maori version of the Treaty (the CMS printed copy) had to overflow onto this, the "unauthorised" English copy. This English copy is just another of the many strange English versions penned by James Stuart Freeman. The document was never issued by the Government for use in the Treaty signing assemblies, but Reverend Robert Maunsell, who had acquired it by some means, chose to use it as a repository for signatures in lieu of the large "official" Treaty document (in Maori) which had not arrived in time for his meeting. The upper signatures displayed are in the handwriting of Reverend Maunsell. At the end of the signatures he wrote: 'The preceding names have been obtained by us at this station ....'. The document is dated the 11th of April and, this time, is signed by both Reverend R, Maunsell and B. Ashwell, his assistant at the proceedings of the 11th of April. The location is given as Waikato Heads. The accompanying Maori text document, presented by oratory to the assembly on the 11th of April at Port Waikato, is also signed by Maunsell.

These two documents (The Maori text for oral presentation and the other to accommodate the overflow signatures) were used again by WC Symonds on the 26th of April at Manukau Heads, after the "Government issued" document had been forwarded southward on to Reverend John Whiteley. Again, Symond's presentation had to be fully conducted in Maori, according to the Maori wording of the Treaty of Waitangi CMS printed text. The lower signatures seen in the above document were recorded by WC Symonds beside his notation, which said, 'Signed before me April 26th 1840'. This was the third attempt by WC Symonds to acquire signatures at Manukau, the other two attempts, using the only authorised document (in Maori) sent by Willoughby Shortland, which, by this time, was in Kawhia and being used by Reverend John Whiteley.

We know full well from the May 12th report of William Cornwallis Symonds that he was talking about the printed Maori document being used for the presentations at Waikato Heads and his 3rd attempt Manukau, with the English copy being used to accommodate the overflow signatures obtained. Symonds writes:

'I have the honour to submit to you for the information of His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor, a Report of my proceedings in the Manukau and Waikato districts in my late mission to obtain the adherence of the Principal Chiefs on the West Coast of this Island to the Waitangi Treaty and herewith - transmit to you a Copy of the Treaty signed by upwards of Forty of the more influential Chiefs of that part of the Country'.

Symonds is stating that the signed treaty he is submitting contains "over forty" signatures. The actual tally is: The English copy has 32 signatures obtained by Maunsell on the 11th of April 1840 (at Waikato Heads) and another 7 signatures obtained by Symonds at Manukau (third attempt there) on the 26th of April 1840 = 39. The printed Maori copy, read to the assemblies at both gatherings, contains the very first of the 5 chiefly signatures obtained at Waikato Heads on April 11th by Reverend Maunsell, bringing the final total to 44.

If we then include the 3 Ngati-whatua signatures that William C. Symonds acquired in Manukau on the 20th of March 1840 (his 2nd meeting there), which were written upon the "official", government issued document, pre-signed by Willoughby Shortland, then the full tally for the Manukau and Port Waikato districts is 47.

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This is the ONLY "official" Treaty document ever issued by the Colonial Government for use in the signing ceremonies at Manukau, Waikato Heads and Kawhia. These assigned regions and districts, for Treaty discussion and signing gatherings before the chiefs, constituted the mission of Captain William Cornwallis Symonds, Government appointee for Treaty negotiations and Deputy-Surveyor of New Zealand. WC Symonds' assignment, issued by Acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland at Government House, was to go first to Manukau and receive signatures from the chiefs there with the assistance of Missionary James Hamlin of the CMS Station. He was next to go to Waikato Heads and conduct a Treaty meeting there, with the assistance of Reverend Robert Maunsell and Benjamin Yate Ashwell of the mission station there. After completion of work at and around the Waikato Heads district, Symonds was to carry this official document, bearing all signatures gathered en route, to Reverend John Whiteley and his assistant, James Wallis and conduct a series of meetings there, as well as, further south in Taranaki.

It was never anticipated by the Government that "improvised documents" would need to be created by Reverend Maunsell, such that he could conduct his meeting at a prescheduled "hui" which all the district chiefs would be present, along with 1500 of their tribespeople. Symonds had, simply, not arrived in time with the "official" document. The signatures appearing on the "improvised documents" were accepted by Hobson in good faith, after Maori chiefs had heard the standard Maori Treaty text read to them at both Waikato Heads and Manukau and had accepted the same. The above document was presented twice to the chiefs at Manukau. At the third meeting the CMS printed Maori text was presented and signatures were obtained based solely on the "official" Maori text. Lieutenant Governor Hobson considered this Maori wording alone to be, 'de facto the treaty, [the only officially binding agreement] and all the signatures subsequently obtained were merely testimonials of adherence to the term of the original document' (see The Treaty of Waitangi, by TL Buick, pg. 147).

In their new treaty book, released in November 2004, authors Dr. Paul Moon and Peter Biggs reinforced many of the conclusions arrived at in this website, related to the status of the three documents used between Manukau, Port Waikato and Kawhia in 1840. Moon & Biggs wrote:

'With Hobson ill, Willoughby Shortland, the Acting Governor, undertook to send the Treaty around the country. Copies of the Treaty were made by Freeman and dispatched from the Bay of Islands with Henry Williams on the Ariel and overland by Captain W. C. Symonds. By late April, Hobson had recovered, and instructed Bunbury to carry the Treaty south (Sheet 7).

Sheet 2. The Manukau-Kawhia copy

On 13th March Shortland sent this copy, under his own signature, with Symonds to obtain signatures in the Manukau harbour area and south on the west coast. Symonds was familiar with this area (see p245). He and James Hamlin, a CMS missionary on the southern side of the Manukau, assembled local chiefs (probably at Awhiti) but failed to get their agreement. A second meeting was held on 20th March, and many Waikato chiefs were also present including the great chief Te Wherowhero. However only 3 Ngati-Whatua chiefs signed. Symonds then sent this Treaty copy to John Whitely, the Wesleyan missionary at Kawhia [*1], who, along with his assistant, James Wallis, slowly obtained further signatures: the last name added on September 3rd. Symonds then moved on to Waikato Heads (see Sheet 3).

Sheet 3 The Waikato Manukau copy

On 11th April, at his missionary station at the mouth of the Waikato River, Rev. Robert Maunsell held a meeting. Over 1500 Maori had arrived - but Symonds had not arrived with the official Maori Treaty, presigned by Hobson [*2]. Anxious to take advantage of the meeting, Maunsell forged ahead. He already had a copy of Colenso's printed Maori Treaty and one of Freeman's carelessly written English Treaties. After the usual presentation in Maori the chiefs started signing the Printed Treaty (Sheet 4) and the overflow of signatures were placed on the English Treaty (Sheet 3). Maunsell believed the 32 chiefs who signed [*3] were most of the leading chiefs of the area - mainly from the lower Waikato, with some from Ngaruawahia and further upriver. Three days later Symonds arrived with an official Maori Treaty - but was too late. Maunsell handed both these sheets to Symonds.

Symonds then travelled to Manukau Heads to hold a third Treaty meeting in the area (probably again at Awhiti) on 26th April. As instructed, he would have presented the Printed Maori Treaty but, because no space was left on this, he used Sheet 3 for a further seven signatures of Waikato chiefs. But again, chief Te Wherowhero and several others would not sign. When Symonds returned to the Bay of Islands Hobson accepted the signatures on both sheets (Sheets 3 and 4), considering those appearing on sheet 3 simply as overflow signatures from Sheet 4. He then signed off this Treaty (Sheet 3), his weak signature indicating the effects of his illness.' [*4] (See The Treaty and Its Times, by Paul Moon & Peter Biggs, "Collecting signatures on the 9 Treaty sheets").

Red emphasis added to show areas of general, important agreement on historical points, promoted by this website since early 2004.

Whereas I'm in full accord with most of what Moon & Biggs state, I differ in opinion on points I've listed as 1, 2, 3 & 4.

*1. WC Symonds did not send the official, government issued Maori Treaty copy onward to Rev. John Whiteley from Manukau, but carried this copy to Maunsell at Port Waikato. Because it had arrived too late, Rev. Maunsell sent it on "by messenger" to Whiteley and states this in his letter to Hobson.

*2 Hobson had not presigned any official, government issued Treaty document for specific use at Manukau, Port Waikato and Kawhia. Acting Lieutenant Governor Willoughby Shortland had signed the official (Maori language) document for use at those 3 locations.

*3 On the 11th of April 1840, Maunsell secured 37 signatures. Of these, 5 were on the printed Maori treaty sheet and 32 more overflowed onto Freeman's defective English copy.

*4 By May 1840, when Maunsell's two "make-do" documents were returned to the Bay of Islands, Hobson's ability to write and sign documents was much improved. It's more likely that Freeman shoved this English copy under the nose of Hobson at some time between the 1st and 3rd of March 1840, within days of Hobson's stroke. It's a very poor, left handed signature, executed at the height of Hobson's paralysis, while still aboard H.M.S. Herald at the Waitemata. The text version shows it to be one of Freeman's Royal Style copies, earmarked for despatch overseas. With such a terrible signature adorning it, Hobson would have insisted it not be sent anywhere. Freeman probably gave it away as a souvenir to someone attending the treaty assembly at Tamaki on the 4th of March 1840. The document was, possibly, picked up few days later by Captain Gordon Brown, who was shipping a large batch of CMS printed material from William Colenso to Robert Maunsell. Captain Brown, undoubtedly, took his boat over the portage at Tamaki in order to transport the mission's cargo all the way to Port Waikato, using the waterways. William Cornwallis Symonds did the same thing with his boat 3-weeks later, in order to sail down to Maunsell's mission.



Despite the clear-cut, logical and recorded history of what happened at Waikato Heads and Manukau, wherein different documents were used in four separate meetings (official handwritten Maori document, issued by Willoughby Shortland for all meetings held on Symond's assigned route, or Maunsell's "make do" CMS Maori printed text for presentation, accompanied by a reject, mistakenly transcribed, English copy, used solely for receiving signatures that couldn't fit on the Maori document), opportunists try to misrepresent what happened. They attempt to say that the printed Maori text (CMS document) must have been from some other, unknown signing incident that Maunsell got involved in and has nothing to do with the events of the 11th of April 1840. According to what they want us to believe, the only document on hand for the Waikato and Manukau signings was the very defective English one. Reverend Maunsell, by their defunct theory, would have stood there clumsily translating the English text into Maori as the meeting unfolded.

This hypothesis is ridiculous in the extreme and represents a very futile attempt to elevate the rejected text of Busby's 3rd of February, preliminary draft and a later rejected preamble, to "full Waitangi Treaty status"... to the exclusion of the Maori text. The physical, documented proof flies in the face of that deliberately exploitative and historically mischievous explanation. At both Waikato Heads and Manukau, like everywhere else in New Zealand, the presentation to the Maori people was conducted in Maori, using only the authorised and solitary Maori text. Without that "official" Maori text on hand, in either printed or hand-written form, it was both impossible and illegal to conduct a meeting with the Maori chiefs and their tribespeople.

Historian Claudia Orange writes: 'The names of the Waikato chiefs on this sheet [printed CMS Treaty] were witnessed by Robert Maunsell, but there is no indication of the date or place of signing. The chiefs were possibly visiting Maunsell's mission at the Waikato river mouth. Ngati Pou lived on the east and west banks of the river further upstream; Ngati Te Wehi were at Raglan. Some uncertainty surrounds this sheet as far as its date of printing*. It seems highly likely, however, that it was dispatched with the English treaty copy sent to Maunsell to enable him better to explain the terms of the treaty'.

*According to the Day and Waste Book of Reverend William Colenso, who was the Church Missionary Society's printer, he printed off 200 copies of the Maori version of the Treaty of Waitangi text. This undertaking commenced on the 17th of February, 1840. Maori Treaty researcher, Jean Jackson, states: 'Colenso the printer also gave senior chiefs a copy in Maori of the treaty (see his day book). He printed 200' (see also William Colenso, by A.G. Bagnall & G.C. Petersen, 1948 pg. 97).

'The following items were printed by Colenso in 1840, to the order of the Lieutenant-Governor: The Treaty of Waitangi in Maori (200), Circular summonsing Natives to Waitangi (100), Proclamation of the Queen's authority (100), Proclamation regarding land purchases (100), Impounding notices (100), Circular to Natives (100), Circular warning natives against buying army stores (500), three additional printings of the, "Proclamation asserting the Queen's Sovereignty over new Zealand" (300 @ 100 per batch). The final batch had slightly amended wording. Payment for this Government commissioned work was received on December 22nd, 1840 and amounted to £14. 12s. 7d'. (See: Williams, A Bibliography of Printed Maori, 1926).

Our so-called "Treaty" historians and experts have a responsibility to represent events correctly, but on this historical point (concerning Maunsell & Symonds) have been deliberately obtuse and evasive. The documented evidence of what truly happened at Waikato Heads and Manukau is in the National Archives and fully accessible to our "politically aligned" historians. Their gross "dereliction of duty" to the New Zealand public, silence related to pertinent detail and very inadequate or elusive explanation of events, has been designed to legitimise the false claims of the "Treaty Industry", which can only survive if our historians deliberately misconstrue and mis-explain the true events of history.

The old adage says, 'an opportunity lost might not avail itself again'. The chiefs from many surrounding districts, accompanied by a large entourage of their tribal members, had arranged to gather for discussions, between themselves, at Waikato Heads on April 11th. Reverend Maunsell had a couple of choices... he could stand about twiddling his thumbs while awaiting the delivery of his "official Treaty document", (arriving with Captain WC Symonds several days too late) or he could innovate and take advantage of an already scheduled hui. If he chose to wait, then he could expect to spend the next month out "crashing bush" to get to the isolated Maori settlements. If he could arrange to have his Treaty "business matter" discussed at the hui meeting, then he would save all parties concerned a lot of bother and inconvenience. In lieu of other options at short notice, he chose to use his printed (Maori) Church Mission Society copy of the Treaty, which copies had been made in large numbers on the press of the Paihia CMS Mission in the third week of February 1840. The word for word content of the Maori text was the only version to be read or discussed on the day. Reverend Maunsell knew that truth implicitly, as he and others of the Church Mission Society were acting under direct and explicit orders from Hobson, as well as head of the Church Missionary Society, Reverend Henry Williams, to present only one version...the Maori version.

Sir James Henare, the last surviving member of the Council of the Chiefs of Ngapuhi of the Treaty of Waitangi recounted, in 1987, oral history about the Waitangi proceeding's and later hui discussion: 'Captain Hobson arrived on the 5th at the Treaty grounds and read the clauses of the Treaty or the articles of the Treaty and suggested to the chiefs that they could have ample time, a week, to consider the Treaty and it was the Maori version that was given to them to consider' (see Hobson...Governor of New Zealand 1840-1842, by Paul Moon, pp 104-105).

'The instruction of Captain Hobson was, "not to allow any one to sign the treaty till he fully understood it;" to which instruction I did most strictly attend. I explained the treaty clause by clause at the signing of the same, and again to all the natives in this part of the island previously to the destruction of Kororareka, on March 11, 1845; I maintained the faith of the treaty and the integrity of the British Government, and that the word of Her Majesty was sacred, and could not be violated.
That the natives to whom I explained the treaty understood the nature of the same, there can be no doubt; ..."* (Volume II of "The Life of HENRY WILLIAMS, Archdeacon of Waimate," by Hugh Carleton, published 1877 by Wilson & Horton, Auckland).

William Cornwallis Symonds, who tried on 3 occasions to get signatures from the Chiefs at Manukau, well understood the importance of unfaltering and strong oratory before the Maori assemblies. On two occasions he had the very adept assistant and much respected orator, James Hamlin to help him. Hamlin was considered to be the most gifted speaker of the Maori tongue to be found amongst the British. In the first two meetings, Symonds presented the "official", government signed (by Willoughby Shortland) document in Maori. At the 3rd meeting he had only Maunsell's "make-do" documents, one of which was the "official" Maori text, which he presented with as much finesse as he was capable. Unfortunately, James Hamlin was absent on the day, having travelled to another mission. Symonds later lamented:

'I obtained the adherence of seven other chiefs to the Treaty. Te Wera-Wera and several others, however, objected.... This I attribute partly to the Bishop's [Pompallier's] influence, partly to the extreme pride of the Native chiefs, and in great measure to my being alone and unable to make that display and parade which exerts such influence on the minds of the savages' (see WC Symonds in a letter to the Colonial Secretary, 12 May 1840. Great Britain Parliamentary Papers 1841 (311) XVII pp. 101-2).

It's glaringly obvious that Symonds, on all 3 attempts, presented ONLY, the authorised Maori text wording of the Treaty.

Reverend Robert Maunsell, a lettered scholar and linguist, was personally engaged in translating the Old Testament of the Bible into the Maori language at the time he made his Treaty presentation to 1500 Maori at Waikato Heads. Of Maunsell's meeting, TL Buick writes, 'The project had been received by the natives in the most friendly spirit, and signatures had been obtained with the utmost alacrity' (see The Treaty of Waitangi, by Buick, pg. 189). Some years later, in 1845, Rev. Maunsell wrote the following during a time of conflict:

'Whether that Treaty was a 'fiction' or not, this is no fiction, that the Government stands pledged to secure certain rights to the Aborigines, & that the Aborigines were fully informed of that promise. Whether that Treaty has been attended with injurious consequences or not I do not know. This I know, that if it had not been for those stipulations the Colony could not have been established without war with the Aborigines and other more serious evils than those which at present attend it. The people may not perhaps understand all the particulars of that treaty, but we, their teachers took particular care to explain to them, as far as was necessary to allay the suspicions & jealousy with which they contemplated the movements of Government' (see R. Maunsell to Secretaries, 23 April 1845, in ATL-Micro-MS-Coll-04-35 (CMS Archives CN/M v. 15 p. 311).

The chiefs, who always heard the Treaty presentation in their own tongue, understood perfectly that they were ceding Sovereignty to Queen Victoria and becoming British subjects. The only area within the wording of the Treaty, where the missionaries were concerned that the chiefs might not understand the full implications of what they had agreed to, related to "selling their land directly to the Queen's representative" and having no right to sell it directly to the settlers. This was of particular concern to Reverend William Colenso, who impressed the "problem", with considerable force, upon the mind of Lieutenant-Governor Hobson on the 6th of February, 1840:

'The correctness of Colenso's fears that the natives did not understand the implications and effect of a provision of the Treaty conferring on the Crown the right of pre-emption are substantiated by the natives subsequent dissatisfaction with this clause, which later had to be waived by Hobson in favour of the New Zealand Company and also by Governor Fitzroy. The failure of the Crown to exercise its right of pre-emption [exclusive right of purchase], thereby preventing the natives from selling sufficient land to satisfy their desire for European products became a source of grievance and was a contributing factor to the outbreak of Heke's rebellion' (see William Colenso, by A.G. Bagnall & GC Petersen, 1948, pg. 97).

In the end it was only the totality of signatures acquired at both Waikato and Manukau Heads, based upon an oral delivery of the Maori text to the assemblies, to which Hobson later affixed his seal, legitimising the signatures. Hobson was acknowledging the wishes of those who had added their marks to the dual documents (acting as one document in Maori) at Waikato and Manukau and was giving those individuals formal recognition that their wishes were duly noted and would be implemented. He could never have envisioned that latter-day, conniving individuals, protected by a "turn a blind eye" or "look the other way" government and judiciary, would seek to misconstrue the events of the 11th and 26th of April 1840, so that New Zealand was wide open to plunder.


After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on the 6th of February, tremendous impetus was invested in getting the Treaty signed all over New Zealand. For these many individual signing ceremonies, in widely scattered districts throughout the circa 1000-mile length of the country, an organised programme had to be devised. Particular Government appointees, well versed in Maori oratory custom and fluent in the language, would travel on pre-planned routes to individual mission station outposts. At these locations they would have the co-operation of the head missionaries, who would make all their resources, human and otherwise, available for conducting Treaty meetings with the district chiefs.

Each of the Government appointed emissaries would carry an "official document", signed off as the Treaty compact/ contract. Any document that did not contain the exact Maori text, as appearing on the original Treaty of Waitangi, could not represent the Government in any official capacity. All documents had to be the selfsame worded contract, without variation in language or meaning and signed by the Government executive at the time of issuance to the Government's commissioned appointee. For the chiefs to be enticed to sign the Treaty, it had to have "mana" and a document devoid of the signature of the Queen's official representative would have little or no "mana" and prestige. It would be akin to sending a letter that wasn't signed.

It goes without saying that there would be no "foot-dragging" in the creation of these official hand-written documents. Production of them started early and coincided with Reverend William Colenso's production of 200 printed copies of the Treaty in Maori, for distribution to the signatory chiefs at Treaty gatherings throughout New Zealand. These were printed on the CMS Paihia press during the day of February 17th 1840.

It becomes apparent that in the month of February 1840, several scribes, with very acceptable or beautiful handwriting, wrote up at least six "official" copies of the Treaty for distribution. Each of these was in the Maori language and compelling evidence suggests that all or most were signed by Hobson during February 1840, when each impressive document was completed. At least one of the Hobson signatures, appearing on J. W Fedarb's Opotiki Treaty, appears to have been signed for him by James Stuart Freeman. Another copy was signed off by Acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland on the 13th of March for William Cornwallis Symonds to carry to Manukau, Port Waikato and Kawhia. There was also a "Master Copy", written up by Reverend Henry Williams, which was never earmarked for signing by the chiefs, but which bore 3 waxen "Seals". This was, it would seem, the "final standard" Maori document, handwritten by the official translator, from which all duplicates had to be accurately copied. It is now in the collection of the Catholic Diocese in St. Mary's Bay, Auckland.

The month of February was particularly busy for Hobson and he had an exhaustive schedule, which took him both north and south. He'd left the Bay of Islands on February 21st and sailed to the Waitemata (later to become Auckland City and district). Unfortunately, he had a massive stroke on March the 1st, which left him paralysed down his right side. Inasmuch as he wrote right handed, he could no longer sign his signature as before, and between March 1st and March 14th or 15th, he did not attempt to write. On the 14th or 15th of March, while recuperating at the Waimate (Northland) home of Reverend Davis, he feebly tried to write a short letter, in pencil, to his wife in Australia. He'd been returned to Northland aboard HMS Herald on the 6th of March and then had been carried on a litter through the bush to the Waimate Mission Station, arriving there an March 9th. The reins of Government had been handed to Willoughby Shortland who, vigorously, carried on the Treaty signing incentive without delay.

One of the first official acts of Willoughby Shortland was to sign and despatch the "official" Government Treaty document, which was to be carried by Deputy Surveyor of New Zealand, William Cornwallis Symonds, to Manukau, then Waikato Heads and, later, onward to Kawhia. This, therefore, represented a 7th duplicate to the original Treaty of Waitangi and the text was, again, in Maori... as that was the only official language that the documents appeared in for presentation to the chiefs. The document, '...was sent to Captain Symonds under cover of a letter from Shortland on March 13th, two days before Hobson made his first attempt to write' (see Captain William Hobson, by Guy K Schofield, pg. 109).

Hobson wrote to Reverend Henry Williams concerning the Maori text Williams was issued before his own Treaty mission: '...treat with the principal native chiefs, in the southern parts of these islands, for their adherence of the treaty.... I have the honour to enclose a copy of the treaty, which I have signed; and to request you will obtain the signatures thereto of such high chiefs as may be willing to accede to its conditions, first explaining to them its principle and object, which they must clearly understand before you permit them to sign....Such presents as may be required will be put on board and placed at your disposal' (see Hobson's letter to Reverend Henry Williams, 23rd of March 1840, MS 91/75, Auckland Institute and Museum Library).


Despite some vain attempts to embellish the rude text of the English version into more grandiose and dignified wording, suitable for laying before the critical gaze of Her Majesty's illustrious functionaries overseas (seemingly a driving obsession embraced by James Stuart Freeman), the Littlewood Treaty remains the only authoritative, legally binding English text. Although various and sundry English renditions were written up by a multitude of scribes after the 6th of February 1840 (Freeman's strange array of despatched treaty texts... or latter back-translations of the Maori text into English), the fact remains that the Littlewood Treaty was Hobson's final English draft, penned by Busby and the mother document from which the Maori Treaty was born. It matches the Maori version sentence by sentence in meaning and remains the pre-eminent, crucial text for, "before, during and after" the events of the 5th & 6th of February 1840.

Alongside the Littlewood Treaty, all other versions are rejects, pretenders or, simply, poor and distant relatives. Hobson stated that there was only one "de facto" Treaty and that was the Maori version. Its meaning, by direct pedigree and lineage, is locked to the Littlewood Treaty English wording.

Treaty expert Brian Easton writes:

'For further evidence of the low status of the various English versions after the signing of the Tiriti, consider the numerous translations made in the 1840s by those involved in land deals around Auckland. They are closer to the Maori Tiriti (presumably based on Colenso’s poster) than the one Clendon sent to the US. If everyone was translating the Tiriti, then they are implying the official version in English was non-existent, unimportant, or irrelevant. In the 1840s the general view among settlers seems to have been there was no Treaty of Waitangi, but there was Te Tiriti o Waitangi which had to be translated into English.

Hobson's behaviour adds support to the lower status of the English ‘version’. Ross reports on five versions which Hobson forwarded to his superiors in Sydney and London. There are differences between them. The main difference is that three have the Hobson-Busby preamble, two the Freeman one. (One omits ‘forests, fisheries’. A sixth version attributable to Hobson is in Clendon’s letter to the Secretary of State on 7 July, where the preamble is again Freeman’s (but ‘forests, fisheries’ are included).

What are we to make of all this? Surely it is that there was no English text of the Tiriti at the time of signing, or shortly after, that Hobson cobbled together what they could after recognizing the lack'.

For further commentary and resource references by Historian Ruth Ross, CLICK HERE.

It must be reiterated, there is ONLY ONE Treaty of Waitangi-Tiriti o Waitangi wording and it is in the Maori language. There was never an English Treaty of Waitangi and all English versions are either drafts preceding the Maori version or latter back-translations of the Maori version. Of these English versions, only one has any perceived authority and that is the last and final draft by known as the Littlewood Treaty. There were two exact copies of this final draft in February 1840. One of these was despatched to the Secretary of State in Washington DC by US Consul James Reddy Clendon on the 20th of February 1840.

Unfortunately, Clendon could not be 100% sure that the copy of Busby's final draft that Clendon himself had helped create on February 3rd and 4th 1840, then transcribed for diplomatic pouch use, was still considered to be the word-for-word official text. Perhaps subtle changes had been made to it after he last saw it on February 4th. He was, therefore, obliged to state to his superiors in Washington D.C. that his transcribed copy represented a fair translation, but that on the return of Captain Hobson from the southward (Thames-Waitemata), he would apply for the "official" English wording and an "official" Maori wording. This he did and both his request and his receipt of the copies is recorded in the Register of letters received by the Colonial Secretary for March 1840.

Thereafter, another such "final English draft copy was created on April 3rd and, subsequently, despatched with Commodore Charles Wilkes on April 5th 1840.This one we know to have been the "official" English version, as Clendon had applied to the government for, and received, the "official English wording" a couple of weeks before Commodore Charles Wilkes' document was transcribed and sent.

Here is the final draft penned by Busby, which was sent to Clendon by Hobson in March 1840. It is seen sitting alongside its transcribed copy, penned by Commodore Charles Wilkes on April 3rd 1840:

BUSBY’S FINAL DRAFT …4th of February 1840

Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of England in Her gracious consideration for the chiefs and people of New Zealand, and her desire to preserve to them their land and to maintain peace and order amongst them, has been pleased to appoint an officer to treat with them for the cession of the Sovreignty 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 that 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 me William Hobson a captain in the Royal Navy to be Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may now or hereafter be ceided to her Majesty and proposes to the chiefs of the Confederation of the 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 & 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 and the other chiefs grant to the chiefs Queen, the exclusive right of purchasing such land as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to sell at such prices as shall be agreed upon between them and the persons appointed by the Queen to purchase from them.

Article Third

In return for the cession of the 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.-
William Hobson
Consul & Lieut. Governor.

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

WILKES’ DESPATCH 64 TREATY ... 3rd of April 1840.
Translation of the Treaty
Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of England in her gracious consideration for the chiefs and 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 their lands country and the islands adjacent to the Queen seeing that many of Her Majesty’s subjects have already settled in this country and are constantly arriving and that it is desirable for the protection of the Natives to establish a Govt. amongst them.

Her Majesty has accordingly been pleased to appoint me William Hobson a Captain of the Royal Navy to be Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may now or hereafter be ceided to Her Majesty and proposes to the chiefs of the confederationof the 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 forever the entire Sovreignty of their country.

Article Second

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

Article Third

In return for the cession of the 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 Wm Hobson
Consul and Lt Governor

Now the chiefs of the confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand being assembled at Waitangi and we the other chiefs of New Zealand having understood the meaning of these articles, accept of them and agree to them all. In witness whereof our names or marks are affixed.

Done at Waitangi the sixth day of Febu in the year of our lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty.

Consulate of the US of America at the Bay of Islands N Zealand, April 3rd 1840.

It can be readily seen that Busby's final draft of the 4th of February 1840 was available to Commodore Charles Wilkes when he transcribed the text on the 3rd of April, 1840 at James Reddy Clendon's premises. Although the transcript shows the Commodore has been a bit inattentive or hurried and left out "of the Sovreignty" in the Preamble, or has abbreviated some words, the text is the same. Wilkes has even copied Busby's spelling mistake for "Sovreignty" on two occasions, leaving out the telltale "e". Wilkes has also copied Busby's mistake where he wrote chiefs then crossed it out and inserted Queen (See Papers of Charles Wilkes 1837-1847, despatch Number 64, Microfilm 1262, University of Auckland Library pp. 142-145 & 163-168).