Waitangi Treaty Grounds
NZ's most significant historic place
New Zealand’s most significant historic site, Waitangi is where the first 43 Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown in 1840. Eventually 500 chiefs signed on, but the Treaty has been a bone of contention ever since, with claims that the English and Māori versions don’t match up.
These days, Waitangi occupies a complex spot in New Zealand’s national psyche. The nation’s birthday on February 6 is both celebrated and met with apathy – and often wrought with protests.
At the Treaty Grounds, you can explore two impressive contemporary museums – Te Rau Aroha & Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi – the carving studio, the Treaty House, Te Whare Rūnanga (Carved Meeting House), traditional Māori waka taua (war canoes) and enjoy and cultural performances. It’s a wonderful experience not to be missed, especially for those interested in Māori culture.
The Treaty Grounds are 2km northwest of Paihia.