Declaration of Independence of NZ – He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni


before translation, by Eruera Pare Hongi, the English draft, written by James Busby, follows:

Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand

  1. We, the hereditary chiefs and heads of the tribes of the Northern parts of New Zealand, being assembled at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, on this 28th day of October, 1835, declare the Independence of our country, which is hereby constituted and declared to be an Independent State, under the designation of The United Tribes of New Zealand.
  2. All sovereign power and authority within the territories of the United Tribes of New Zealand is hereby declared to reside entirely and exclusively in the hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes in their collective capacity, who also declare that they will not permit any legislative authority separate from themselves in their collective capacity to exist, nor any function of government to be exercised within the said territories, unless by persons appointed by them, and acting under the authority of laws regularly enacted by them in Congress assembled.
  3. The hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes agree to meet in Congress at Waitangi, in the autumn of each year, for the purpose of framing laws for the dispensation of justice, the preservation of peace and good order, and the regulation of trade; and they cordially invite the Southern tribes to lay aside their private animosities, and to consult the safety and welfare of our common country by joining the Confederation of the United Tribes.
  4. They also agree to send a copy of this Declaration to His Majesty the King of England, to thank him for his acknowledgement of their flag; and in return for the friendship and protection they have shown, and are prepared to show, to such of his subjects as have settled in their country, or resorted to its shores for the purposes of trade, they entreat that he will continue to be the parent of their infant State, and that he will become its Protector from all attempts upon its independence. Agreed to unanimously on this 28th day of October, 1835, in the presence of His Britannic Majesty’s Resident.

(Here follow the signatures or marks of thirty-five Hereditary chiefs or Heads of tribes, which form a fair representation of the tribes of New Zealand from the North Cape to the latitude of the River Thames.) English witnesses:

  • (Signed) Henry Williams, Missionary, CMS.
  • George Clarke, CMS.
  • James C Clendon, Merchant.
  • Gilbert Mair, Merchant.

I certify that the above is a correct copy of the Declaration of the Chiefs, according to the translation of Missionaries who have resided ten years and upwards in the country ; and it is transmitted to His Most Gracious Majesty the King of England, at the unanimous request of the chiefs. (Signed) JAMES BUSBY, British Resident at New Zealand.