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Draft of He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene [2 of 2] | by Archives New Zealand
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Draft of He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene [2 of 2]

This is a draft manuscript of He W[h]akaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni, known in English as the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand (


The main text of this draft was written by the missionary Henry Williams, and a final paragraph was added by the CMS printer William Colenso. It is thought that Colenso may have added this paragraph in 1836, when he made the first printed copy of He Whakaputanga.


The text of the draft is almost identical to the document first signed on 28 October 1835, which was written out by Eruera Pare Hongi ( There are some differences of wording or formatting, but most are minor. The draft also contains a number of corrections – words have been either deleted or inserted, and these corrections are reflected in Eruera Pare’s final text.


When exactly the draft was written, and when the corrections were made, is a matter of debate. Dr Phil Parkinson considered whether the draft could have been a copy made for printing purposes after the hui of 28 October 1835, but concluded that it was not. Rather, both he and Dr Mānuka Hēnare saw it as a first draft. In Parkinson’s view, Williams translated and corrected the draft prior to the hui, and then Eruera Pare made his copy, ready to be signed by the rangatira.


For Hēnare, however, the differences between Williams’s draft and the final, signed document, are evidence that changes may have been made as a result of discussion at the hui. He notes that the draft refers to ‘Ko te W[h]akaminenga o Nu Tirene’, but Eruera Pare’s final version includes ‘Ko te W[h]akaminenga o nga Hapu o Nu Tireni’. For Hēnare and others of Ngāpuhi, this shows that Eruera Pare Hongi had an influence on He Whakaputanga’s phrasing and the concepts it expressed.


The draft remained with Colenso's papers and was inherited by his daughter Frances Simcox on his death 1899. The document remained with the Simcox family until 1950, when it was acquired by historian Dr G C Peterson. The document is believed to have been purchased from Peterson's estate by Brian Groshinski, an Australian art dealer, from whom it was purchased by the New Zealand Government in September 1989, alongside a copy of the 1837 printed version of He Wahakaputanga.


Archives Reference: ZZZZ 6248 W5243 Box 1 [Side 1b]


Material from Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga


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Uploaded on June 22, 2017