Waitangi Treaty Grounds
On 6 February 1840 Maori chiefs signed their first accord with the British Crown - the Treaty of Waitangi. This resulted in the declaration of British sovereignty over New Zealand in May 1840.
The Treaty is infamous due to the fact that it was written up in English and Maori (since Maori did not speak English) and it later turned out that both versions were far from direct translations. English version gave Britain sovereignty over New Zealand and gave the Governor the right to govern the country. Maori version permitted the Crown a right of governance in return for protection, without giving up their authority to manage their own affairs.
Depending on where you go and who you speak with, they will give you their own explanation why this might have happened. Some say it was a mistake in translating whilst the others will say it was done intentionally as they knew Maori would never agree to the 'English' version of the terms. Knowing the history of English colonization, one can draw their own conclusions.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds & Museum lies approximately half an hour walk away from Paihia and is a must do for anyone interested in New Zealand's history and Maori culture.
You have to purchase a Pass if you want to visit the grounds. The Day Pass includes admission to the Treaty Grounds, entry to the museum, introductory film, a guided tour with a local guide, Maori cultural performance and other historic sites.
Your day pass also allows you to reenter the grounds (on the same day). Just speak to the lovely ladies at the entrance gate and they will sort you out with a return ticket.
It is worth checking bookme webiste for promotional prices. I have gotten mine for almost half the price when booking online in advance.
The Ceremonial War Canoe in Waitangi is the largest of it's kind. Traditionally, no women have ever been allowed to ride in war canoes. The only lady who was ever granted a ride in one was Pricess Diana who requested if she can ride in this one when her and Prince Charles were doing a tour of New Zealand.
When Maori Men faced a backlash from Maori ladies in regards to why she was allowed something they were never granted, they found a loophole stating, it was a ceremonial canoe and thus special requests could be granted.
Attendants of the event state it was quite entertaining watching Diana's security details run alongside the coat, making sure no funny business would take place. :D
The treaty of Waitangi was signed on this exact spot where the flagpole stands today.
When New Zealand first established itself as a trading country, it first didn't have a flag. That became a problem when traders from New Zealand were captured on the coast of Australia for sailing without a flag which in those days was only done by the pirates. (New Zealand was not a colony at that time thus it didn't have the flag.)
First flag was the Flag of The United Tribes, which was adopted in March 1834. The Union Flag was adopted after the Treaty was signed in 1840.
New Zealand had flag referendum in 2015-2016 in which they tried to vote for a new flag which would not include Union Jack. With 43% in favour of changing the flag, the referendum was not successful.
The Carved Meeting House - the lace where Maori cultural performance takes place. All visitors are kindly asked to remove their shoes before entering the house in a sign of respect and to not bring into the house of peace any dirt that has been soiled by the battle.
The Treaty House
Waitangi Treaty Grounds is an amazing place to learn about New Zealand's history. You get to see and walk the exact roads where the history was made back in the 1840s. It is also an excellent starting point to the Haruru Falls Mangrove Walk which was one of the places that was on my To Do list when planing my trip.
I have first planned to include the walk in this post as well. I have then gone over all the photos that I've taken and realised it would be better to make a separate post about it.
The walk was even better than what I was expecting and I cannot wait to share more pictures of it with you in my next post.