NZ's most precious documents will soon have a new home. Including the Treaty of Waitangi, the three manuscripts which influenced some of our country's most historic milestones are set to be relocated to the National Library in Wellington.
Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne, along with mana whenua and iwi leaders, has launched the naming of a new exhibition, He Tohu: A declaration. A treaty. A petition.
Acting chair for Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi Carol Dodd says, “He tohu represents and personifies our past, present and future. Most incredible has come to light once again.”
General Manager of Archives New Zealand Marilyn Little says, “I think it’s important because it contains the three important documents of our nation.”
The exhibition is of three documents of NZ. The 1835 Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, and the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition.
“All New Zealanders can make connections to those three documents, and that’s why I think this is important to NZ and New Zealanders,” says Little.
Dodd says, “That was a time where out tupuna had dreams for us. I guess it’s a gentle reminder from our tupuna that there’s a lot more work to be done.”
Ngāpuhi regards themselves as guardians of the Treaty of Waitangi, so this exhibition is sacred to them.
Ngāpuhi elder Winnie Leach says, “I've only just seen these for the first time. I shed tears for those who signed the treaty. I thought back to the day it was signed and think about it today. There is a love for this kind of treasure. I'm glad it's being looked after here, it's been looked after for all of us New Zealanders.”
The taonga are currently at Archives New Zealand in Wellington, in a display that was designed in 1989. The new exhibition will be located in the National Library of New Zealand. The documents remain under the care of Archives New Zealand. The exhibition is set to be held early next year.