He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of 3 iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand. 

  • He Whakaputanga — Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi — Treaty of Waitangi
  • Women's Suffrage Petition   Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine 

See these fragile and priceless documents in the document room, which is inspired by the form and function of a waka huia – treasure container. 

Experience the state-of-the-art conservation space, designed to preserve the documents for generations to come. Enjoy the interactive displays that allow you to engage with the documents and discover your own personal connections.


Detail of He Whakaputanga, showing signatures.
A declaration: He Whakaputanga He Whakaputanga – the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand is hugely important. It was how rangatira (Māori leaders) told the world, back in 1835, that New Zealand was an independent Māori nation.
Detail of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, showing signatures.
A treaty: Te Tiriti o Waitangi Te Tiriti o Waitangi — the Treaty of Waitangi is the agreement that Aotearoa New Zealand is built on.
Detail of the Women's Suffrage Petition, showing signatures.
A petition: Women’s Suffrage Petition The Women’s Suffrage Petition — Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine lead to New Zealand becoming the first country in the world where all women gained the right to vote in general elections.
Visitors looking at Te Tiriti o Waitangi at the He Tohu exhibition opening
Partnerships The He Tohu exhibition has been developed in partnership between Crown and Māori, with significant input from women’s groups nationwide.
Timeline wall at He Tohu exhibition
The exhibition Get a taste of what you will see and experience when you come to the He Tohu exhibition. Read about the awards that He Tohu exhibition has won.
Waka hui, document room showing the Treaty of Waitangi documents and the curved room.
He whakapapa kōrero: The document room Learn about the extraordinary curved room that holds He Whakaputanga, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition. The room is designed to protect and enhance the mana of the precious documents it holds.
Conservators Around Tiriti
Preserving the documents Find out how the documents in the He Tohu exhibition are being preserved for future generations. What are the challenges for conservators and what technology is being used to protect the documents?
Māori warriors leading the move of the documents.
Moving the documents Read about how the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, Treaty of Waitingi and the Women's Suffrage Petition were trucked 200m from Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga to the National...