Waitangi, Northland

Coordinates: 35°15′58″S 174°04′48″E / 35.26611°S 174.08000°E / -35.26611; 174.08000
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Te Whare Rūnanga, the carved meeting house on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Te Whare Rūnanga, the carved meeting house on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Coordinates: 35°15′58″S 174°4′48″E / 35.26611°S 174.08000°E / -35.26611; 174.08000
CountryNew Zealand
RegionNorthland Region
DistrictFar North District
WardBay of Islands/Whangaroa
 • Territorial AuthorityFar North District Council
 • Regional councilNorthland Regional Council
 • Total17.19 km2 (6.64 sq mi)
 (June 2023)[2]
 • Total60
 • Density3.5/km2 (9.0/sq mi)

Waitangi (/ˈwtɑːŋi/ WY-tahng-ee[3] or /wˈtæŋi/ wy-TANG-ee,[4] Māori: [ˈwaitaŋi]) is a locality on the north side of the Waitangi River in the Bay of Islands, 60 kilometres north of Whangarei, on the North Island of New Zealand. It is close to the town of Paihia, to which it is connected by a bridge near the mouth of the Waitangi River estuary. While Statistics New Zealand and NZ Post consider the southern boundary of Waitangi to be the river and estuary, with the area further south being part of Paihia, the area by Te Tī Bay, immediately south of the river, is sometimes referred to as part of Waitangi.

"Waitangi" is a Māori-language name meaning "noisy waters" or "weeping waters", probably referring to the Haruru Falls on the Waitangi River.[5]

The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed at Waitangi on 6 February 1840. It is also the place where the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand was signed five years earlier, on 28 October 1835. This document was ratified by the British Crown the following year (1836).


Signing of Treaty of Waitangi[edit]

Elizabeth II in Waitangi, December 1953

The Treaty of Waitangi proper began on 5 February 1840 when a public meeting was held on the grounds in front of James Busby's residence. Lieutenant Governor Hobson read a proposed document to the 300 or so European and Māori who were in attendance and then provided the Māori chiefs an opportunity to speak. Initially, a large number of chiefs (including Te Kemara, Rewa and Moka Te Kainga-mataa) spoke against accepting the Crown's proposition to rule over Aotearoa.[6] Later in the proceedings a few chiefs began to entertain the idea; amongst the more notable chiefs to support the Crown were Te Wharerahi, Pumuka, and the two Hokianga chiefs, Tāmati Wāka Nene and his brother Eruera Maihi Patuone.[6]

The proceedings were ended and were to recommence on 7 February; however, a number of chiefs pressed to sign earlier. The Treaty of Waitangi was initially signed on 6 February 1840 in a marquee erected in the grounds of James Busby's house at Waitangi by representatives of the British Crown, the chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand, and other Māori tribal leaders, and subsequently by other Māori chiefs at other places in New Zealand. Not all of the chiefs chose to sign this document, with a number of chiefs either delaying or refusing to put pen to paper.

In 2007, researcher Brent Kerehona claimed[citation needed] that uncertainty has arisen over whether Ngapuhi chief Moka Te Kainga-mataa actually signed; despite his name appearing on this document. A close inspection of the Treaty document itself shows no evidence of a signature or 'mark' next to Moka's name (which is written as 'Te Tohu o Moka'). Kerehona elaborates by inferring that it is clear by the accounts of Colenso (1890)[6] that not only did Moka clearly express his concerns about the Treaty's effects whilst at the meeting on February 5, but that the discussion that he had with the Reverend Charles Baker, combined with Moka's final comment, should be taken into account.

The Treaty of Waitangi followed on from The Declaration of Independence (He Whakaputanga) but did not render it void.[7]

Treaty Grounds[edit]

James Busby's house at Waitangi

Waitangi Treaty Grounds has been open to the public since 1934.[8][9] What is now called the 'Treaty House' was first occupied by James Busby, who acted as the British resident in New Zealand from 1832 until the arrival of William Hobson, and his wife Agnes Busby. The Treaty House was restored in the 1930s, in preparation for New Zealand Centenary in 1940, sparking the first emergence of the Treaty into Pākehā attention since the 19th century.

Te Whare Rūnanga, a carved Māori meeting house, was built near the Treaty House in 1939 and opened on 6 February 1940. The area of the whare is sometimes used as if it is a marae and referred to as the "upper marae", although it is not a true marae. There is a marae, Te Tii Waitangi, in Te Tī Bay on the south side of the Waitangi River that is sometimes referred to as the "lower marae".[10]

Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi opened on the grounds in 2015.[11][9] Another museum, Te Rau Aroha, opened in 2020.[12][9]


The Waitangi Wharf is located to the south of Waitangi, and is used by passenger ferry services between Russell and Paihia.[13] In 1990, artist Selwyn Muru requisitioned copper from the historic wharf piles, and incorporated these into Waharoa, a sculpture located in Aotea Square, Auckland.[14]


Statistics New Zealand describes Waitangi as a rural settlement. It covers 17.19 km2 (6.64 sq mi)[1] and had an estimated population of 60 as of June 2023,[2] with a population density of 3.5 people per km2. The settlement is part of the larger Puketona-Waitangi statistical area.[15]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [16]

Waitangi had a population of 51 at the 2018 New Zealand census, a decrease of 15 people (−22.7%) since the 2013 census, and a decrease of 21 people (−29.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 39 households, comprising 30 males and 21 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.43 males per female. The median age was 39.2 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 6 people (11.8%) aged under 15 years, 12 (23.5%) aged 15 to 29, 21 (41.2%) aged 30 to 64, and 9 (17.6%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 58.8% European/Pākehā, 35.3% Māori, 11.8% Asian, and 5.9% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 52.9% had no religion, 35.3% were Christian, 11.8% were Hindu and 5.9% had Māori religious beliefs.

Of those at least 15 years old, 12 (26.7%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 0 (0.0%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $33,200, compared with $31,800 nationally. 6 people (13.3%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 27 (60.0%) people were employed full-time, 12 (26.7%) were part-time, and 0 (0.0%) were unemployed.[16]


  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Subnational population estimates (RC, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (regional councils); "Subnational population estimates (TA, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (territorial authorities); "Subnational population estimates (urban rural), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (urban areas)
  3. ^ Deverson, Tony; Kennedy, Graeme, eds. (2005). "Waitangi". The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195584516.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-558451-6. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries Online: 'Waitangi Day'". Oxford Dictionaries Online. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  5. ^ Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. p. 560. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.
  6. ^ a b c Colenso, William (1890). "The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi". Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  7. ^ "He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti - The Declaration and the TreatyT - The Report on Stage 1 of the Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry" (PDF). Waitangi Tribunal. 2014. pp. 526–528.
  8. ^ "Waitangi Treaty Grounds". Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
  9. ^ a b c "Waitangi Treaty Grounds on NZ Museums". nzmuseums.co.nz. Te Papa.
  10. ^ Rovoi, Christine (31 January 2023). "Explainer: There is only one marae at Waitangi". Stuff. Retrieved 7 March 2023.
  11. ^ "Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi". Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi.
  12. ^ "Te Rau Aroha Museum". Te Rau Aroha Museum. 16 February 2020. Archived from the original on 1 July 2022. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Bay of Islands passenger ferry". Far North District Council. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  14. ^ Auckland Public Art He Kohinga Toi. "Waharoa". Auckland Council. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  15. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Puketona-Waitangi
  16. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. 7000268.
  • Colenso, William (1890) The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Published by the Government Printer, Wellington, in 1890, and reprinted by Capper Press, ChCh in 1971.

External links[edit]

Media related to Waitangi at Wikimedia Commons

35°15′58″S 174°04′48″E / 35.26611°S 174.08000°E / -35.26611; 174.08000