The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840 is celebrated nationwide every year. This is the 2011 dawn ceremony at Te Whare Rūnanga on the treaty grounds in the Bay of Islands. The exact significance and intention of the treaty remained a subject of debate in the early 2000s. This was partly because the Māori-language version, signed by most chiefs, was not an exact translation of the original English version. Below is a recent translation of the Māori-language version, which has significant differences from the original English-language version (in the attached PDF).
The chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land.
The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures. But on the other hand the chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs will sell land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent.
For this agreed arrangement therefore concerning the government of the Queen, the Queen of England will protect all the ordinary people of New Zealand and will give them the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England.
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