Publication details [#10010]

Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Title as subject


The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 by a representative of the British Crown, and a translation of it into Maori by over 500 Maori chiefs. The Treaty is considered the founding document of the New Zealand Nation. However, over the years serious misunderstandings have emerged as to what had actually been signed. While in the English version Maori had ceded their sovereignty to the British Crown, no such fundamental cession was agreed to in the Maori version. In this article the Treaty of Waitangi and its translation are investigated in their role as a double-edged tool: first in the hands of a colonizing power conqueringa nation, and secondly in the service of the colonized redressing past wrongs. The article begins by outlining briefly the historical background and the context in which the translation occurred, followed by an analysis of the main areas of misunderstanding in the two texts. The article then demonstrates how throughout history the translation not only ensured the survival of the Treaty of Waitangi itself but also that it became the corner-stone of Maori restistance and the guarantor of their economic and cultural survival. The present day societal impact of the Maori resistance based on the translation is explored and some future trends are suggested.
Source : Publisher information