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Te Tiriti ki te Manuao Herara | Herald-Bunbury sheet | by Archives New Zealand
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Te Tiriti ki te Manuao Herara | Herald-Bunbury sheet

For more than two months in 1840, Major Thomas Bunbury sailed around New Zealand obtaining signatures to te Tiriti o Waitangi. His sheet became known as the Herald (Bunbury) Sheet. With him was Edward Williams, son of Henry Williams and a co-translator of the Treaty into Māori.


Their instructions were to complete negotiations in North Island areas that had not been covered and to secure agreement in the South Island. They obtained 27 signatures during thier travels.


The HMS Herald left the Bay of Islands on 28 April, under the command of Captain Joseph Nias. On 4 May Bunbury and Williams met with rangatira at Coromandel Harbour. Some signed te Tiriti but others felt that more time should be allowed for consultation and refused to sign.


The next day, on 5 May, Bunbury, Williams and CMS missionary James Preece tried again to gather more signatures at Coromandel, but without success.


On 7 May, two rangatira signed when the ship anchored off the Mercury Islands.


Bunbury's first stop in the South Island was at Akaroa on 28 May where two rangatira signed at Ōnuku (on 30 May). Bad weather forced the ship to bypass Otago but at Ruapuke, an island in Foveaux Strait, three rangatira signed on 10 June.


The Herald then returned up the east coast, and two rangatria signed at Otago Harbour on 13 June. Another signing occurred in Cloudy Bay on 17 June. Ngāti Toa chief Nohorua insisted that his signature be witnessed by his son-in-law, whaler Joseph Thoms; according to Nohorua, should his grandchildren lose their land, their father might share the blame.


On 17 June, Bunbury proclaimed sovereignty over the South Island, and then sailed for Kāpiti, off the west coast of the North Island. Off Mana Island he found Te Rauparaha and insisted that he sign. Te Rauparaha assured Bunbury that he had already signed the Cook Strait sheet, but he signed Bunbury's copy on 19 June. After a brief call at the Tukituki River in Hawke's Bay, where Te Hapuku signed, Bunbury arrived back at the Bay of Islands on 2 July.


The Herald-Bunbury copy was probably made by translator Henry Kemp. It is on parchment and suffered severe damage from its later encounter with rats. The copy bears Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson's signature.


Archives Reference: IA9/9 Sheet 7


This sheet, along with the 8 other Tiriti o Waitangi sheets, He Whakaputanga and the Women's Suffrage Petition, are now on display at the National Library:


You can view the names of those who signed, as well as an interactive map, at the NZ History website ‘Making the Treaty’ page:




This record is part of #Waitangi175, celebrating 175 years since the signing of of te Tiriti o Waitangi. You can see other real time tweets on Twitter (, or explore the Waitangi 175 album here on Flickr.


Caption information from New Zealand History


Material from Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga


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Taken on November 8, 2017