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He Whakaputanga: A key signatory

Eruera Maihi Patuone holding a quill

A key signatory to He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand). All rights reserved.

Create a profile of a signatory to He Whakaputanga (the Declaration of Independence). Discover who they were, where they were from, and why they signed the declaration. Also, consider what this signatory would think about New Zealand society today.


  • Identity, declaration, acknowledgement, collaboration, sovereignty, organisation, continuity.
  • He Tohu themes: the documents, people, place, living together.

What to do

Choose a signatory to He Whakaputanga

Students (individually or in small groups) choose a significant signatory to He Whakaputanga. The signatory could be from the students' iwi, someone from their rohe/place, or someone else of significance.

Students create a profile for their chosen signatory, using the following as prompts:

  • Record their full ingoa/name, and the name they used to sign.
  • Identify their iwi/hapū.
  • Identify where they were living at the time.
  • Map their whakapapa.
  • Describe their character.
  • Find out what they were known for.
  • Find out why they chose to sign He Whakaputanga.

Consider He Whakaputanga today

Students consider what their chosen signatory would think about New Zealand today if their person was still alive:

  • What they would about New Zealand society in relation to He Whakaputanga?
  • Would they think the intentions of He Whakaputanga are being lived up to? Why?

Some useful resources

Topic Explorer:

Archives New Zealand:


New Zealand Curriculum — social sciences

Conceptual strands:

  • Identity, Culture, and Organisation
  • Continuity and Change

Achievement objectives:

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