On 6 February 1840 forty-six Maori chiefs from the northern regions of New Zealand "signed" a document written in Maori called "Te Tiriti o Waitangi," "The Treaty of Waitangi." In doing so, according to the English versions of that document, they ceded to Her Majesty the Queen of England "absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty" which they themselves individually exercised over their respective territories. That act of assent became the substantive ground of British sovereignty over New Zealand. (From "Oral Culture, Literacy & Print in early New Zealand: the Treaty of Waitangi," 9).
Last Modified: 15 March, 2002