Peace and Order Under One Sovereign

February 22, 2017 at 3:10 PM

 ‘For over five hours, through the heat of the day, Maori chiefs spoke for, and against the proposal of the Treaty of Waitangi. Their main concerns were about their authority, the land and trade dealings.’*

As part of the Boys’ School Year 5 Social Science Inquiry into ‘Who We Are’, with a current focus on the Treaty of Waitangi, the background and why it was needed, the boys had a chance to re-enact the signing of the Treaty, when they visited Karaka Bay on Glendowie’s waterfront early this term. The little stretch of beach, which doesn’t have street access, marks the spot where Maori tribe, Ngati Paoa signed the Treaty on 4th March 1840, following the Waitangi signing.

There was much excitement from the boys as they made their way down the long, winding path to the waterfront, half of them dressed in full Victorian style men’s clothing and the others wearing Maori cloaks. In the lead up to the trip, the Year 5 classes had written a short role play to perform under the cover of the big red pohutukawas that line the beach.

The role play delved into how at the time of the signing, many of the Maori chiefs didn’t agree with what was being proposed. The students who had been assigned roles of the two narrators, the missionaries, Captain William Hobson and the Maori chiefs, Te Kemara, Tareha, Hakiro, Whai, Rawiri, Moka, Tama Waka Nene and Hone Heke, spoke loudly and with confidence, even though they were battling the sounds of summer – waves crashing at high tide right behind them and the crackling sounds of cicadas.

Many of the Maori chiefs objected strongly to the land purchases the Europeans, especially the missionaries, had made. Captain William Hobson had the feeling the meeting was running against him, so he decided to adjourn the meeting, to begin again the following day. Morning broke and the chiefs were hesitant to come forward and sign the Treaty. But slowly, one by one, starting with Hone Heke, each came forward to sign the Treaty. Hone Heke shook hands with Hobson who said 'He iwi tahi tatou' which means (We are all one people). 

*Note: Narrative taken from role play on Treaty Resource Centre -


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