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Māori history

Māori are tangata whenua — people of the land. They came to Aotearoa from Polynesia in the 13th century and created a new language and culture.

Māori origins

Research indicates that Māori originated in eastern Polynesia.

Māori origins and arrivals

Polynesian explorers and exploration of New Zealand

Early Māori explorers

Pre-European society

Māori history in brief

European settlement

Abel Tasman’s arrival in 1642 is the first firm evidence of Europeans reaching New Zealand.

The arrival of Europeans

Māori values and practices — in contact with Europeans

New Zealand’s internal wars

Treaty of Waitangi — te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Treaty is New Zealand’s founding document made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs).

Explore the Treaty of Waitangi

A range of features about the Treaty and Waitangi Day

The meaning of the Treaty

Visit the Waitangi treaty grounds and treaty house

The original Treaty documents are at He Tohu at the National Library in Wellington. You can view the Treaty any time during opening hours. If you’re a large group or want a guide, you can book a free guided tour.

Treaty documents

Visit He Tohu at the National Library

Book a free guided tour

Utility links and page information

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