The need for a treaty
In the 1830s, the North Island was far from peaceful. Iwi fought bloody battles. There was land theft, and bursts of violence from drunken sailors. Māori, missionaries, and settlers agreed — something had to be done.
British Resident James Busby (a kind of ambassador) asked London for help. William Hobson was sent to Waitangi to draw up a treaty. It would give Britain control of the country, if both sides agreed.
More than 500 chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. But the English and Māori versions weren’t the same — they made different promises about who had power over what.
The Treaty was written very quickly — in just one night. There wasn't enough time to translate the English correctly into te reo Māori.