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New Zealand and the Treaty of Waitangi

            The Treaty of Waitangi is a significant event in New Zealand history that has caused many debates among historians due to the many differing perspectives towards the events that took place. The Treaty takes its name from the location in the Bay of Islands where the first signing occurred in 1840 on the 6th of February. Following the arrival of many missionaries stationed in New Zealand, increasing numbers of British migrants and labourers settled in New Zealand in the late 1830's by the lead of the New Zealand Company whose intention was to gain immense profit through extensive expansion. Upon the influx of these new British settlers proceeded a new lawlessness within New Zealand, and during the same time period there became signs of the French planning to annex New Zealand however the British Government were still tentative about acting to adjoin New Zealand as a colony. Nonetheless Britain decided annexing New Zealand would be fundamentally beneficial to the Crown and its economic interests through the protection of the Maori. The Crown wanted the Maori to give the right to purchase their land in return for their own property being guaranteed to them and having the same rights as any of the British migrants. Given the job to ensure sovereignty over Maori for the Crown was Lieutenant Governor William Hobson, who was assisted in composing the treaty, over only a matter of days, by James Busby, the British Resident of New Zealand, amidst others. Missionary Henry Williams and his son Edward then translated the treaty into Maori on the 4th of February 1840. There are a variety of different perspectives proclaimed by historians in the debate of the Treaty of Waitangi over the comprehension Maori had on the Treaty at the time. It is said that the translation made by Henry Williams was knowingly different in specific areas, which may have led to an increase of signatures from Maori rangatira.

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