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Council’s Larn Wilkinson, Michelle Johns, and Mayor Toby Adams unveil the copy of Te Tiriti o Waitangi which now hangs inside chambers. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Treaty of Waitangi copy hung in council

Hauraki District Council has revealed a copy of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to hang within its chambers, bearing the signatures of rangatira of the time.
The historic print shows the Herald (Bunbury) copy of the Treaty of Waitangi, created after Major Thomas Bunbury sailed around New Zealand in 1840, acquiring signatures for the treaty.
According to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Bunbury left the Bay of Islands on HMS Herald on April 28. A week later he met with chiefs [rangatira] at Coromandel Harbour.
Some signed the treaty, but others felt that more time should have been allowed for discussion and refused to sign.
Two chiefs signed when the ship anchored off the Mercury Islands – Te Pūnahi, who was a rangatira of Ngāti Maru; and Ngātaiāepa, who was a rangatira of the Te Rapupō hapū [subtribe] of Ngāti Pāoa.
In total, Bunbury obtained 27 signatures on this Māori-language copy of the document.
Council’s takawaenga iwi and Māori liaison officer Larn Wilkinson said it was a “rarity” for council to have been given a print of Te Tiriti from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
He also pointed to the bottom of it – where mice had eaten away sections of the original print.
“The reason for that is because the copies of Te Tiriti o Waitangi were actually lost – they couldn’t find them,” he explained. “During the 60s, nobody knew where they were.
“It wasn’t until the early 70s that they found them in the cleaner’s cupboard at Auckland Museum.”
Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams said receiving the historic treaty copy was “special” and didn’t happen at every council chambers.
“This is part of our history, and we’re a really young country but we seem to have forgotten it really quickly.
“Hopefully we’ll give this the respect it deserves.”