The treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 by over 500 chiefs, and by William Hobson, representing the British Crown. To the British it was the means by which they gained sovereignty over New Zealand. But to Maori people it had a very different significance, and they are still affected by the terms of the treaty, often adversely.
The Treaty of Waitangi, the first comprehensive study of the treaty, deals with its place in New Zealand history from its making to the present day. The story covers the several treaty signings and the substantial differences between Maori and English texts; the debate over interpretation of land rights and the actions of settler governments determined to circumvent treaty guarantees; the wars of sovereignty in the 1860s and the longstanding Maori struggle to secure a degree of autonomy and control over resources.