What I’m Reading – VLOG #4 – Interpreting te Tiriti o Waitangi


After my post last week critiquing some content on the treaty from the new Aotearoa New Zealand Histories curriculum, I was asked to explain my take on the treaty translation issue. I continue to do historical research and writing on the texts and contexts of the treaty of Waitangi (or te Tiriti o Waitangi), and further insights from that research will be referred to on this page over time. However, an explanation of my understanding of te Tiriti – especially from the perspective of its translator, Henry Williams – is found on pp. 138-68 of the report I prepared for the Waitangi Tribunal in 2009 (see PDF below). I highlight a few key points from this report in my VLOG for this week.

Dr Samuel Carpenter – Interpreting te Tiriti o Waitangi

To read Waitangi Tribunal reports, see here.

To read the treaty texts, the backtranslation (from Maori text) of Hugh Kawharu, and Henry Williams’ backtranslation of the Maori text (from 1847), see here.

My view of the Treaty of Waitangi is, as it ever was, that it was the Magna Charta of the aborigines of New Zealand.

Henry Williams to Bishop Selwyn, letter of 12 July 1847

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