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In the early 1800's, there was much turmoil in New Zealand.  Wars between Maori tribes, the threat of a French colonizing effort in the South Island and unscrupulous 'purchases' of Maori land lead the British to push forward with annexation of New Zealand.  Captain William Hobson was sent to assume control and persuade the Maori chiefs to relinquish their sovereignty to the British Crown.

In 1840, a treaty was drawn up within a few days of Hobson's arrival in New Zealand and over 400 Maori gathered to hear the reading of the treaty.  After some amendments, the treaty was signed by 45 local chiefs.  The next seven months were spent carrying the treaty throughout New Zealand and it was eventually signed by 500 chiefs.  The treaty exists in both English and Maori languages.  It's true meaning and the true rights of Maori are still debated.  Under the treaty, the Maori could only sell land to the Crown.  The Crown could then sell the land to settlers.  Many private deals were made and so under the treaty, the sale was illegal giving the present Maori rights to lands previously sold illegally.

I thought I'd include a copy of this controversial document.  Many New Zealanders who argue points about the treaty have never read the document, including some politicians!!

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