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The Treaty of Waitangi
By Yvonne Bouma

1     One of the most important dates in New Zealand is February 6, 1840, when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. In 1840 New Zealand was under the control of the Maori chiefs. The British government set out to take control of New Zealand before America or France could claim the country.
2     The British wrote the Treaty of Waitangi which granted the Queen of England the right to govern New Zealand. It guaranteed the chiefs possession of their lands and resources, providing they sell the land only to the Queen. The Treaty also gave the Maori the rights and privileges of British citizens.
3     On February 5, 1840, a meeting, or hui, was held on the lawn of James Busby's, the "British Resident" house. The Chiefs arrived dressed in traditional costumes of cloaks decorated with dog skins and feathers. Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson and his officers arrived from their boats in the harbor to finalize the treaty document.

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