Explore the journey He Whakaputanga has taken — from its creation in Waitangi on 28 October 1835 to its preservation as a taonga for future generations in the He Tohu exhibition today.
- Significance, preservation, identity, organisation, ceremony, protocols.
- He Tohu themes: the documents, people.
What to do
Find out about the paper and ink used
The paper for He Whakaputanga was made from rags.
- Get students to research how to make rag paper and have a go.
The text of He Whakaputanga was written with iron gall ink.
- Get students to research iron gall ink ingredients and the process for making it. Students can write this up as a 'recipe'.
Investigate the writing and signing of He Whakaputanga
Individually or in groups, get students to:
- investigate Ereura Pare Hongi and his importance to written te reo Māori
- find out who signed He Whakaputanga on 28 October 1835 and where
- find out who signed He Whakaputanga later and where they signed it.
Understand He Whakaputanga's history in He Tohu
Before the He Tohu exhibition opened, New Zealand’s 3 iconic constitutional documents moved from Archives New Zealand to the National Library of New Zealand in a historic and emotional predawn ceremonial procession.
Get students to read Moving the documents, watch the video on that web page, and answer the following questions:
- What protocols and ceremony surrounded the moving of New Zealand's founding documents from Archives New Zealand to the He Tohu exhibition in the National Library, Wellington?
- Why was it such a careful and significant ceremony?
- Why did this happen predawn?
- Who do you think was involved in the complete process?
He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of 3 iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand. To find out more, get students to watch He Tohu exhibition (YouTube video, 3:06) and He Tohu: A declaration. A treaty. A petition (YouTube video, 1:29). Discuss:
- the importance of He Tohu
- what interactions they could see
- what information is available
- why has so much time and effort has gone into creating He Tohu?
Find out about the conservation of He Whakaputanga as a taonga
Get students to read:
Then answer these questions:
- What are the concerns about preserving this document today?
- What processes have had to happen in order to display the original He Whakaputanga document in He Tohu?
- What conditions have to be managed and monitored carefully?
- What occupations and skills would be involved with the process of moving He Whakaputanga from Archives New Zealand to He Tohu and the preservation of the original documents?
- What are the special materials and processes used to preserve He Whakaputanga in He Tohu?
Some useful resources
Archives New Zealand:
New Zealand Curriculum — social sciences
- Identity, Culture, and Organisation