Year 9 - Lesson 1

Curriculum level:
4 - 5
Programme focus:
What the Treaty says.
Length of lesson:
45 – 90 minutes

Focus learning areas

  • What is a treaty?
  • Who is the Treaty of Waitangi between?
  • The Treaty is made up of nine documents that travelled.
  • Key dates for the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Why a Treaty was needed?

Achievement objectives

  • Students will gain knowledge, skills and experience to:
  • Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places, and environments.
  • Understand that events have causes and effects.
  • Understand how the ideas and actions of people in the past have had a significant impact on people’s lives.

Learning outcomes

This programme will provide students with opportunities to:

  • Discuss and confirm what a treaty is.
  • Brainstorm examples of treaties (agreements) in their own lives.
  • Research more about key dates and information regarding the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Present their research about key Treaty of Waitangi information.

Suggested activities

What is a Treaty?

Have a class discussion about different words to describe what a treaty is – contract, agreement, promise, deal, rules, and partnership.

Brainstorm different examples of agreements students have entered into already, or are likely to enter into in the future.

Why do we call it the Treaty of ‘Waitangi’? What is Waitangi?

Waitangi is a place in the Bay of Islands, which is where the first signing took place. The signings didn’t just happen in Waitangi, but took seven months to collect. The documents travelled the length of New Zealand, from as far north as Kaitaia, and as far south as Stewart Island (though no signatures were collected there).

The Treaty is made up of nine signed sheets that travelled.

Eight are written in te reo Māori and one is in English.

When was the Treaty of Waitangi first signed?

The first signing took place on 6 February 1840, and many other signings took place up until the last on 3 September 1840.

Which two groups of people came together to sign the Treaty of Waitangi?

Representatives of the British Crown/Government and the Māori Chiefs.

This question is crucial to the overall understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is why the answer must be clear and specific.

Explain that it was not ‘Pākehā’, as this refers to anyone not Māori for example Australians, Americans, or British.

Explain that it was not ‘Europeans’, as this pertains to any group from the European continent for example French, German, Spanish.

It’s also imperative to explain that it was not the British settlers who signed the Treaty.

The two parties who signed the Treaty of Waitangi were the British Crown/ Government (or rulers in Britain), and the Māori chiefs (the then rulers of New Zealand).

This may also be a time to let the students know that some Māori women signed the Treaty. Point their attention to the image of Rangi Topeora on the ‘Treaty Trail’ panel in Section 2 of the exhibition. She was a powerful woman, and was one of the estimated 12 to 15 women who signed.

Interactive CD Rom / Website

  • The Treaty introduction
  • The Treaty / The journey
  • Why a Treaty introduction

Supporting information

The signatories interactive from the TREATY 2 U website can be used to show what the writing on the Treaty sheets looked like, where the different sheets travelled, and how Māori chiefs signed.

Discover more information about the Treaty trail and about the women who signed.

This link includes a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that help learners discover more about the Treaty of Waitangi.