The Treaty of Waitangi – Te Tiriti o Waitangi
The treaty has become the key instrument for redressing perceived wrong doings during the development of New Zealand and a vehicle for improving the lot of modern Maori. It achieves this by enshrining the partnership of the Crown and Maori and the rights of both. There have been periods in New Zealand history where the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi were largely ignored but since the 1970’s – the Maori Renaiisance – many core pieces of legislation e.g Resource Management Act, include principles derived from the Treaty.
A treaty, at this point in the history of the British empire, was quite unique and its development was influenced by a collection influences including the reluctance of the English to go to war with the Maori. Many Maori chiefs saw that without a signed treaty they would not be able to protect their land and assets from colonisers or directly benefit from trade. One of the central tenets of the treaty is that only the Crown had the right to buy land from the Maori. This was a key platform for the successful colonisation of New Zealand without the need for military subjugation and confilct between different settler groups.