Year 9 - Lesson 3

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

Focus learning areas

  • The Preamble text of the Treaty.
  • The text of Article one.
  • The key differences between the Māori language and English Text.

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.
  • Understand how the Treaty of Waitangi is responded to differently by people in different times and different places.

Learning outcomes

This programme will provide students with opportunities to:

  • Discover the definitions of words that may be new to them.
  • Discuss the differences between words in te reo Māori and in English.

Suggested activities


  • What is in the Preamble?
  • Summarise the main reasons for the Treaty of Waitangi.

Article one

Words that are commonly used to summarise the overall agreement for Article one of the Treaty (in both languages) include:

Power and participation – who gains the most power is different within the Māori language and English language texts. However, the word ‘power’ can be used as a prompt to remember what this Article addresses.


Focus on the English text first. Ask the students if they can find a word that starts with s and means absolute power (sovereignty). Students could look up the definition in the dictionary.

In the English version, Māori are signing away absolutely all of their power. The word that is used instead of power is ‘sovereignty’.

You can explain the term sovereign, meaning King/Queen, and therefore sovereignty illustrates the power of the King/Queen.


The word used in the Māori translation is ‘Kawanatanga’, meaning governorship = limited power. (Definition: The political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states).

Differences in translation

This diagram that explains the English text in orange and Māori text in blue:

British Crown British Crown British Crown
British settlers and Māori British settlers Iwi (Tribe)
Hapu (Sub-tribe)
Whanau (Family)

An alternative to drawing this diagram is to ask some students to stand up and show this diagram. Ask the remainder of the class – what option would you prefer?

The word for chiefly power and independence in the Māori version is in Article two. In this version, the closest word for power is ‘Tino Rangatiratanga’ and instead of giving it away, Māori keep their power – chiefs’ rights are confirmed/guaranteed.

Supporting information

King, Michael

The Penguin History of New Zealand

Penguin Books Ltd, Auckland, 2003

Orange, Claudia

An Illustrated History of The Treaty of Waitangi, Revised edition

Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 2004