Waitangi Day What it is and Why it matters by Philippa Werry.
As a history graduate whenever I read a book on any particular topic I check out authenticity and accuracy and seek to find the core and essential elements of any subject. With the Treaty of Waitangi this is difficult and I expect Philippa Werry who is an excellent historian an d normally gets the relevant facts out into the open, found the same.
The reason I bring this up is because I discovered that this book does not have an English nor a Maori translation of what the Treaty actually said. I would have thought this was an essential fact for anyone wanting to study the treaty. So I went looking on line to find an answer and this is what I discovered from The Encyclopedia of NZ – because the English and Māori versions of the treaty are not direct translations of each other, so difficulties arise in interpretation. So forget about finding out what the Treaty says.
Thus what this book really covers are factors about the signing, why it matters and reactions to the Treaty form both Maori and Pakeha since it’s signing on 6th February 1840. It does reveal that there are misunderstandings over the English words sovereignty and possession and the Maori words kawanataunga and te tino rangatiratanga.
Nonetheless there is much to be gained by reading this book. Did you know that Hone Heke signed it first but three british officers signed above him making him fourth on the list. Also the original documents both in Maori and English are missing or destroyed and that 13 high ranking Maori women signed the treaty.
History of the protest until the present is also well documented and the book is fascinating reading.
There are photographs, maps, paintings, stamps and coins, a glossary, timeline and references for further reading including web sites. But I wish I knew what the Treaty said.
Primary, intermediate and high school students will find this book helpful.