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Compare He Whakaputanga with Te Tiriti

Waka on the foreshore at Waitangi

Māori Waka at Waitangi by Dirk Pons. Flickr. Public domain.

Investigate the intended meanings behind He Whakaputanga (the Declaration of Independence) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi). Consider the significance of the documents for the lives of people today and in the future.


  • Perspectives, cultural interactions, intention, interpretation, documents, significance, founding, bicultural, change.
  • He Tohu themes: people, place, living together, our future.

What to do

Ask students to consider He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in terms of:

  • the people who signed each document
  • the intended meaning of key terms and phrases (for example, rangatiratanga)
  • the cultural interactions that led to the creation of each document
  • the significance of each document today.

Consider using a Venn diagram for each (people, meanings, interactions, and significance) to help students to compare and contrast He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Some useful resources

Topic Explorer:

Archives New Zealand:

New Zealand Curriculum — social sciences

Conceptual strands:

  • Identity, Culture, and Organisation
  • Place and Environment
  • Continuity and Change

Achievement objectives:

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